Democratic presidential frontrunner Joe Biden has appeared in multiple interviews since a former staffer accused him of sexual assault. Yet, none of the TV hosts he’s spoken with have asked him about the allegations.
How we got here: Tara Reade, who worked as a staffer on Biden’s team while he was a Delaware senator, last year accused Biden of inappropriate touching, saying he would “put his hand on my shoulder and run his finger up my neck” when she worked in his Senate office in 1993. The story gained little attention, and Reader turned to Time’s Up, a project of the National Women’s Law Center that supports alleged #MeToo victims. They turned her down, saying it could jeopardize their status as a non-partisan organization, Intercept reported.
On Wednesday, Reade, in an interview with podcast host Katie Halper, said there’s more to her experience with the former vice president.
She said Biden kissed her and penetrated her with his fingers without her consent. When Reader pulled away, she says, Biden told her: “Come on, man. I heard you liked me.” The incident, according to Reader, took place near the Capitol building. She met Biden there after being asked, by a more senior staffer, to bring him his gym bag.
Biden’s campaign denied the allegations on Friday. “Women have a right to tell their story, and reporters have an obligation to rigorously vet those claims. We encourage them to do so, because these accusations are false,” said deputy campaign manager Kate Bedingfield said in a statement.
Biden has been a vocal supporter of women who come forward with sexual allegations. “For a woman to come forward in the glaring lights of focus, nationally, you’ve got to start off with the presumption that at least the essence of what she’s talking about is real,” Biden said during the confirmation hearings of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
Biden’s recent interviews: The former vice president, whose campaign halted amid the coronavirus pandemic, has turned to online alternatives to continue his campaign, including interviews with prominent networks. But television hosts have, so far, failed to ask him about the allegations.
Since Reader’s interview on the podcast, Biden has appeared on CNN and NBC, as well as ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live” which aired on YouTube. With Kimmel, Biden joked about baseball and talked about stopping the spread of the coronavirus. In fairness, late-night hosts usually avoid hard-hitting questions.
— Jimmy Kimmel (@jimmykimmel) March 27, 2020
CNN’s hourlong virtual town hall, hosted by CNN’s Anderson Cooper, also largely focused on the coronavirus pandemic. Some viewers pointed out on social media that the sexual allegations against Biden went unmentioned.
How does CNN host a town hall with Joe Biden and not ask about the former senate aide who has publicly accused him of sexual assault? https://t.co/WzYIS3Hf1Y
— Michael Sainato (@msainat1) March 28, 2020
On Sunday, Biden spoke with anchor Chuck Todd on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” Todd didn’t mention the sexual assault allegation either. He did ask the former vice president if President Trump has “blood on [his] hands” for his response to the coronavirus. Even Biden noted that “that’s a little too harsh.”
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