McConnell criticizes media for double standard on Biden, Kavanaugh

McConnell criticizes media for double standard on Biden, Kavanaugh
© Bonnie Cash

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellManchin backs raising debt ceiling with reconciliation if GOP balks Biden needs to be both Mr. Inside and Mr. Outside Billionaire tax gains momentum MORE (R-Ky.) on Monday accused Democrats and the media of a double standard in their response to a sexual assault allegation against former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden invokes Trump in bid to boost McAuliffe ahead of Election Day Business lobby calls for administration to 'pump the brakes' on vaccine mandate Overnight Defense & National Security — Presented by Boeing — Afghanistan reckoning shows no signs of stopping MORE.

McConnell, during a Fox News Radio interview, was asked to compare the response from national Democrats and reporters to the handling of sexual assault allegations made against Supreme Court Justice Brett KavanaughBrett Michael KavanaughLocked and Loaded: Supreme Court is ready for a showdown on the Second Amendment Why Latinos need Supreme Court reform Feehery: A Republican Congress is needed to fight left's slide to autocracy MORE during his 2018 confirmation.

"At the very least, it's pretty obvious that the same people who were outraged about ... unproven allegations against Justice Kavanaugh when he was in high school seem to have little or no interest, or certainly not as much interest, in suggestions of improper behavior by an adult who is in the Senate. I think these things ought to be dealt with symmetrically," McConnell said Monday.

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Tara Reade, a former Biden Senate staffer, has said Biden sexually assaulted her in 1993, when she worked in the then-senator's office. Biden has not addressed the allegation, but his campaign has denied it.

The campaign previously highlighted Biden's work on domestic violence, saying he has "dedicated his life to changing the culture and the laws around violence against women.”

His campaign has also said Biden "firmly believes that women have a right to be heard — and heard respectfully. Such claims should also be diligently reviewed by an independent press. What is clear about this claim: It is untrue. This absolutely did not happen."

A spokesman didn't immediately respond to a request for comment on Monday on McConnell's remarks.

Reade first alleged Biden had touched her inappropriately in April 2019 along with several women who made similar allegations at the time against Biden, prompting an apology from the former vice president. But Reade did not specify at the time that she was alleging sexual assault.

On Monday, Business Insider reported about Reade's former neighbor who said Reade told her of the accusation against Biden in 1993.

Some Democratic lawmakers have faced questions about the allegation in recent weeks. 

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezDemocrats say GOP lawmakers implicated in Jan. 6 should be expelled Republican spin on Biden is off the mark House progressives call on Biden to end all new fossil fuel permitting MORE (D-N.Y.) said earlier this month that the allegation was “legitimate to talk about.”

Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharPaid family leave proposal at risk Top Arizona elections official says violent threats fueling worker turnover Infrastructure bill carves out boosts to first responders, wildland firefighters MORE (D-Minn.), who has endorsed Biden, told NPR that "all women in these cases have the right to be heard and have their claims thoroughly reviewed," and Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersOvernight On The Money — Senate Democrats lay out their tax plans Overnight Health Care — Presented by Altria — FDA advisers endorse Pfizer vaccine for kids Manchin: 'I think we'll get a framework' deal MORE (I-Vt.) told CBS's "This Morning" that "any woman who feels that she was assaulted has every right in the world to stand up and make her claims."

But McConnell, echoing a broader complaint from Republicans, argued on Monday that reporters were treating the allegation against Biden differently than they did the allegations against Kavanaugh, who was ultimately confirmed.

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McConnell also predicted that the allegation against Biden would be brought up ahead of the November election.

"I can't imagine that this kind of an issue isn't going to be discussed during the presidential campaign. Surely those in the reporting world who were so animated about the investigation of Justice Kavanaugh would have an equal interest in this subject," McConnell said.

The allegations against Kavanaugh sparked the Senate's most high-profile and vitriolic confirmation fight in recent history.

Senate Republicans agreed to delay a final vote on his nomination for a week while the FBI conducted a supplemental background check, though Democrats have said the limitations put on the investigation made it unable to adequately look into the allegations against Kavanaugh.

Christine Blasey Ford accused Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her during a high school party in the early 1980s. Deborah Ramirez says Kavanaugh exposed himself to her during their freshman year at Yale University. Kavanaugh has denied any wrongdoing.