Schumer: Biden’s Defense of Sexual Assault Claim ‘Sufficient’

May 12, 2020 Updated: May 12, 2020

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said that presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s defense against a sexual assault allegation was “sufficient.”

“Before the MeToo movement, women were not listened to who were telling what had happened to them. Since MeToo, women are listened to,” Schumer told reporters in Washington on Tuesday.

“Now, I’ve heard Joe Biden’s explanation. I think it’s sufficient. I think he will be a great candidate, I think he will be a great president, and I think he will help us take back the Senate.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) showed early support for Biden, saying last month she was “satisfied” with the response the Biden campaign put out after former staffer Tara Reade elevated a previous complaint to a sexual assault claim.

Biden responded to the claim during a television appearance on May 1, insisting it wasn’t true.

After the appearance, Pelosi said, “I believe him when he says it didn’t happen.”

She said she wouldn’t answer any further questions about the matter.

Tara Reade
Tara Reade in a recent interview. (Courtesy of Rich Mchuch/Megyn Kelly via Reuters)

Biden has received near-uniform support from Democrats in Congress after being accused of sexual assault.

Reade says Biden assaulted her at the U.S. Capitol in Washington in 1993. Multiple people recounted being told by her within the next few years about the alleged incident, including her husband and a neighbor.

Schumer’s remarks came after Reade’s attorney demanded the former vice president open up his Senate archives, which were gifted to the University of Delaware in 2012.

The university last year pushed back the scheduled release date and has said workers are busy curating the documents and electronic records, with no definite date of release at this time.

“Given that you have repeatedly made a blanket denial of any knowledge of any complaint made by Ms. Reade against you, I am sure you would agree that we all deserve to know whether there are, in fact, any records that corroborate Ms. Reade’s allegations in your archives, particularly in light of the secretary’s present obstinacy,” Douglas Wigdor, the attorney, said in a letter to Biden.

Biden earlier in May declined to call for a search in the records of Reade’s name, claiming the collection doesn’t include personnel records.

Senate lawyers, meanwhile, quashed the release of any records housed in the Senate involving Reade’s time working for Biden.

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