Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s potential running mates are reportedly undeterred by the sexual assault allegations made by former Senate staffer Tara Reade.
Aides to four potential partners on the Biden ticket – Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn.; Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif.; former Georgia House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams; and Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer – refused to comment on the allegations made by Reade, instead pointing The Wall Street Journal to past public comments on Biden and women in the #MeToo era.
“I see him (as) a leader on domestic abuse,” Sen. Klobuchar told National Public Radio.
Biden has said he’ll name a woman as his running mate in his bid to unseat President Donald Trump, but Reade’s allegations loom as a test for any woman who might stand beside former President Barack Obama’s vice president.
Reade “has a right to tell her story, and I believe that,” Harris told the San Francisco Chronicle. “And I believe Joe Biden believes that, too.”
Biden, she added, has “been a lifelong fighter, in terms of stopping violence against women.”
Abrams has not changed her opinion of Biden amid the Reade allegations, according to the Daily Beast.
“Women have the right to be heard, and we have the responsibility to listen,” Abrams told the news organization, adding that Biden “has spent over 40 years in public life advocating for women.”
Most notably, Whitmer told HuffPost she “believes that it is important that these allegations are vetted, from the media to beyond, and that it is something that no one takes lightly.
“But it is also something that is personal. We will not speculate or provide greater insight without knowing more about the situation.”
The Biden campaign has emphatically rejected Reade’s allegations, which include saying that back in the 1990s, he “cornered her in a corridor of the U.S. Capitol complex and touched her genitals without permission,” according to The Journal.
“Vice President Biden has dedicated his public life to changing the culture and the laws around violence against women,” Biden campaign communications director Kate Bedingfield told The Journal in a statement. “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. What is clear about this claim: It is untrue. This absolutely did not happen.”
Reade, now 56, a lifelong Democrat, told The Journal she has no regrets bringing the allegations forward.
“I can’t get restorative justice, but I wanted to further the sexual harassment conversation, particularly about how powerful men can use the system,” she told The Journal.