Gillibrand addresses Reade allegations: 'I stand by Vice President Biden'

Sen. Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandDemocratic lawmakers call for expanding, enshrining LGBTQ rights The Hill's 12:30 Report: Fauci 'aspirationally hopeful' of a vaccine by winter The Hill's Morning Report - Officials crack down as COVID-19 cases soar MORE (D-N.Y.) on Tuesday defended former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenCan Republicans handle the aftermath of Donald Trump? Biden seeks to supplant Trump in Georgia Trump's Mount Rushmore stunt will backfire MORE after a reporter asked if she believed allegations from Tara Reade, a former aide who says the then-senator sexually assaulted her in a secluded part of Capitol Hill in 1993.

Gillibrand, who ran for president last year, said she stood by the presumptive Democratic nominee and supported him, noting he had denied the allegations. 

“So when we say believe women, it’s for this explicit intention of making sure there’s space for all women to come forward to speak their truth, to be heard,” Gillibrand said during a conference call with reporters about the Postal Service.

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“And in this allegation, that is what Tara Reade has done. She has come forward, she has spoken, and they have done an investigation in several outlets. Those investigations, Vice President Biden has called for himself. Vice President Biden has vehemently denied these allegations, and I support Vice President Biden.”

The reporter followed up by asking if Democrats who were on the front lines for the hearing into Christine Blasey Ford’s allegations of sexual assault against Supreme Court Justice Brett KavanaughBrett Michael KavanaughMcGrath fends off Booker to win Kentucky Senate primary Trump's mark on federal courts could last decades Supreme Court rules US requirements on overseas NGOs do not violate free speech MORE see any “contradiction” in not speaking out on Reade’s behalf.

“No, and I stand by Vice President Biden,” Gillibrand said. “He has devoted his life to supporting women, and he has vehemently denied this allegation.”

The Biden campaign has strenuously denied the allegations, although Biden has not personally addressed them.

“Vice President Biden has dedicated his public life to changing the culture and the laws around violence against women,” said deputy campaign manager Kate Bedingfield. “He authored and fought for the passage and reauthorization of the landmark Violence Against Women Act. He 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.”

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Reade was one of several women who came forward last year to say that Biden’s public touching had made her uncomfortable.

Last month, Reade alleged publicly for the first time publicly that Biden had also assaulted her.

This week, Reade’s former neighbor Lynda LaCasse said she recalled Reade recounting the story of the alleged assault at the time. Reade’s brother Collin Moulton previously said that she told him that Biden “had his hand under her clothes at some point.”

Reade has said that she confronted Biden’s aides about it at the time. All of the aides Reade listed have gone on the record to say that they were never confronted about the allegation.

Reade says she filed a complaint with the human resources office in the Senate about the allegations of inappropriate touching. Media outlets have not been able to track down the complaint. Reade said she believes the complaint is in Biden’s archives at the University of Delaware, which is not releasing the former vice president’s records at this time.

Reade did not file a police report at the time. She filed a police report with the Washington, D.C., police last month.