Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said that the sexual assault allegation against presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden creates a “messy moment” that is “not clear cut.”
Former Senate staffer Tara Reade has accused the former vice president of sexually assaulting her in 1993.
“There have been investigative journalists that have corroborated certain aspects of her account — that is undeniable — [and] have raised questions about other aspects of her account,” Ocasio-Cortez told NPR‘s “Morning Edition.”
“It certainly seems as though something has happened. I’m not sure,” she said. “Frankly, this is a messy moment, and I think we need to acknowledge that — that it is not clear cut.”
The New York Democrat cautioned her colleagues against picking sides too soon instead of allowing for proper due process.
“I think there is an impact here for survivors and I think it is very important to speak about what this moment means for survivors across the country,” Ocasio-Cortez said.
“I think a lot are watching how our leadership and our culture and our media respond to this and I don’t think the response overall has been sufficient.”
However, the New York representative said people have been too quick to judge because it is in a “hyper-politicized zone.”
“Instead of focusing on her account, instead of focusing on her story as a survivor, people are fast-forwarding to the political implications,” Ocasio-Cortez said.
“That denies justice in this situation.”
Ocasio-Cortez said Reade has not explicitly stated that she wants any kind of political justice even though that is what many people are assuming.
“If anything, it sounds like she simply wants to be heard,” she said.
Reade, who worked for Biden from 1992 to 1993, has said Biden kissed, groped and digitally penetrated her during an unwanted sexual advance.
“No, it is not true,” Biden told host Mika Brzezinski when asked about Reade’s allegations. “I am saying unequivocally. It never, never happened. And it didn’t. It never happened.”
Many Democrats have come out in support of Biden, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she was “satisfied with how he has responded.”
Biden’s campaign also reportedly issued talking points for Democrats to use if they are asked about Reade’s allegations.
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