President Donald Trump on Thursday stated that former Vice President Joe Biden should respond to sexual assault allegations from a former aide while he was a senator in the early 1990s.
“I think he should respond,” he told reporters. “You know it could be false accusations. I know all about false accusations. I’ve been falsely charged numerous times.”
Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee, has not publicly addressed the allegations. A former staffer, Tara Reade, said he assaulted her in the U.S. Capitol in 1993.
At the same time, Biden, who has been holed up at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, hasn’t been directly asked by any media outlets about the claims, leading some GOP lawmakers to suggest that both Democrats and journalists are trying to cover up the story.
Trump, who was speaking to reporters on Thursday while holding an event on the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, pointed to Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, who was accused of sexual assault during his confirmation process. He argued that like Kavanaugh, men can be falsely accused of misconduct.
Reade, like several other women, have accused Biden of inappropriate touching. Biden said at the time that he was sorry and would change his behavior.
But Reade last month said that Biden also assaulted her on Capitol Hill. Biden’s campaign has categorically denied the allegations, and no other women have come forward.
The former vice president is scheduled to appear on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on Friday morning to address Reade’s claims.
The allegations gained further traction earlier on Thursday when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) was asked several times about Biden. She reaffirmed her support for him.
“I respect your question, and I don’t need a lecture or speech. Here’s the thing: I have complete respect for the ‘Me Too’ movement. I have four daughters and one son,” she said. “There is a lot of excitement around the idea that women will be heard and will be listened to. There is also due process, and the fact that Joe Biden is Joe Biden … There have been statements from his former [Senate] office that there was never any record of this. Nobody ever came forward to say something about it other than the principal involved.”
In 1992, Reade accepted a staff position for Biden, who served as a senator for Delaware at the time, after interning for former Rep. Leon Panetta. Her early time working for Biden, she recalled, was “very positive,” reported Fox News.
However, all that changed when she began to interact more with the former senator.
“When he’d see me, he’d usually put his hands on me. And that’s just something he did. And I didn’t like it. It made me uncomfortable,” Reade told Fox News. “Like, for instance, I had worked for Leon Panetta and others later, and no one had ever done that with me. Like my boss had never put their hands on me, so that was strange to me.”
Then in March 1993, the alleged assault took place, she said.
“Vice President Biden has dedicated his public life to changing the culture and the laws around violence against women,” Biden Deputy Campaign Manager Katie Bedingfield said in response to the claim. “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.”