The Democratic Party needs to address the recent sexual assault allegation against Joe Biden even though his campaign has denied it, Democratic New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said Tuesday.
The representative was asked about the recent accusation from Tara Reade against the former vice president during an online conversation with The Wing, a networking space for women, CBS News reported.
Reade, a staff assistant for Biden when he was in the Senate, accused the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee of sexually assaulting her while the two were alone in 1993.
Although the questioner said she opposes President Donald Trump’s re-election, she “really resent[s] the fact that the other choice is someone who has a really long history of being creepy to women.”
“What you’re voicing is so legitimate and real,” Ocasio-Cortez said.
“That’s why I find this kind of silencing of all dissent to be a form of gaslighting.”
Reade, who worked for Biden from 1992 to 1993 and told liberal podcaster Katie Halperin that Biden had kissed, groped and digitally penetrated her during an unwanted sexual advance more than 25 years ago.
— Katie Halper (@kthalps) March 25, 2020
The allegation came after other women have previously shared stories of Biden making them feel uncomfortable by invading their personal space with his hands and body, or by smelling their hair.
“Vice President Biden has dedicated his public life to changing the culture and the laws around violence against women,” Biden campaign manager and communications director Kate Bedingfield said in a statement.
“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. What is clear about this claim: It is untrue. This absolutely did not happen.”
Ocasio-Cortez argued that Democrats need to be talking about this allegation.
“I think it’s legitimate to talk about these things. And if we again want to have integrity, you can’t say, you know — both believe women, support all of this, until it inconveniences you, until it inconveniences us,” she said.
“A lot of us are survivors, and it’s really, really hard and uncomfortable.”
She added that it is not OK to prioritize beating Trump in November at the cost of ignoring sensitive issues.
Reade told CBS News she’s “humbled and honored” by Ocasio-Cortez’s support, adding that she is the only politician who has spoken up for her.
Hours before Ocasio-Cortez spoke in favor of Reade, former President Barack Obama formally endorsed Biden.
The congresswoman was a strong supporter of Sen. Bernie Sanders’ presidential run.
“My job is to push and push back against everyone. To push back against Republican Party and the Democratic Party,” she said.
“That makes people uncomfortable, but we’re just not where we need to be right now.”
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.