Joe Biden on Friday denied sexual assault allegations from former staffer Tara Reade in his first public comments on the issue.
“I want to address allegations by a former staffer that I engaged in misconduct 27 years ago. They aren’t true. This never happened,” Biden said in a statement. Biden added that if Reade filed a complaint with his office at the time, his personal archives at the University of Delaware, which the Board of Trustees is refusing to open, would not contain files of that nature.
“There is only one place a complaint of this kind could be: the National Archives,” Biden said. “If there was ever any such complaint, the record will be there.” Reade says that the complaint she filed did not directly allege sexual assault, but that Biden had made her feel uncomfortable.
In an appearance on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, Biden again insisted that the National Archives are the only place where records from “the office [Reade] claims to have filed a complaint with are stored.” When host Mika Brezinski pressed Biden on why the former vice president wouldn’t open his archives at the university for a search of Reade’s name, Biden replied that the university archives contain records of private conversations with leading politicians that would be inappropriate to release while he is running for office.
When asked how he would square his current position with previous statements regarding Supreme Court justice Brett Kavanaugh accuser Christine Blasey Ford, Biden said “believing women means taking their claims seriously.”
“Women are to be given the benefit of the doubt…Start off with the presumption of truth,” but look at the facts of the case, Biden said.