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Whitmer says she believes Biden on assault allegation

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Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D), frequently mentioned as a top contender for presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s running mate, said Sunday that she believes Biden’s denial of a sexual assault allegation against him.

“I have read a lot about this current allegation. I know Joe Biden, and I have watched his defense. And there’s not a pattern that goes into this,” Whitmer said on CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday. “I don’t believe that it’s consistent with the Joe Biden that I know. And I do believe Joe, and I support Joe Biden.”

Tara Reade alleges that Biden pushed her against a wall and sexually assaulted her in an empty corridor while she was working in his Senate office in 1993.

Whitmer said she saw no contradiction between believing Biden’s denial and encouraging survivors of assault to speak up.

“Just because you’re a survivor doesn’t mean that every claim is equal,” she said. “It means we give them the ability to make their case, and the other side as well, and then to make a judgment that is informed.”

Biden’s campaign denied Reade’s allegation and Biden addressed it personally for the first time Friday on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

“I’m saying unequivocally it never, never happened and it didn’t. It never happened,” Biden said in the Friday interview.

Several other figures who have endorsed Biden have similarly said they believe his denial, including former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.).

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