Former vice president and presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden denied allegations that he sexually assaulted a former Senate staffer in the early 1990s during an appearance Friday morning on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”
“It is not true,” Biden said. “I’m saying unequivocally it never, never happened. And it didn’t. It never happened.”
Biden’s former Senate staffer, Tara Reade, has said the former senator from Delaware sexually assaulted her in the basement of a Capitol Hill office building in the early 1990s. Although the allegation did not surface until 2019, two associates of Reade’s stated publicly this week that she shared elements of her allegations with them previously.
In a statement released shortly before Biden’s Friday morning interview, his campaign denied the allegations. The presidential hopeful called for the National Archives to release any record of a complaint filed against him by Reade, though he stressed during his appearance on MSNBC that he did not believe one to exist.
“This is an open book,” he said. “There’s nothing for me to hide -- nothing at all.”
Reade’s allegation gained scrutiny Thursday along party lines on Capitol Hill with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic Party’s highest-ranking officeholder, expressing support for Biden’s presidential bid and Republicans leveling accusations of hypocrisy at Democrats, The New York Times reported.
Speaking on CNN on Thursday, Pelosi said she was “satisfied with how (Biden) has responded," even as she acknowledged “it’s a matter that he has to deal with.”
Speaking about the allegation for the first time on Thursday, President Donald Trump said Biden “should respond” before proceeding to criticize the treatment of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, who faced an allegation of sexual assault after he was nominated to the nation’s highest court, as “an absolute disgrace to our country.”
Steve Guest, a spokesman for the Republican National Committee, said “the left, and their media allies, has one standard for Republicans and another standard for Democrats like Joe Biden.”
“The double standard,” he said, “is appalling.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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