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Biden's denial of Reade's charges was necessary but not enough

By Clarence Page, Tribune Content Agency on

I applaud Joe Biden for responding to his former Senate aide Tara Reade's allegation of sexual assault, but it is by no means enough to put the case to rest.

First, his statement posted on Medium and his brief interview Friday morning on MSNBC's "Morning Joe," added nothing to his denials expressed earlier by his campaign. His key statement about Reade's allegations that he engaged in misconduct with her 27 years ago. "They aren't true. This never happened."

Likewise, in his interview on "Morning Joe" Friday, he flatly denied Reade's claim, "No, it is not true. I'm saying unequivocally it never, never happened."

That's reassuring for those of us who want to give Biden the benefit of our doubts, but it will only embolden his political adversaries -- on both the political right and hard-liners of the progressive left, and #MeToo movement feminists.

Biden needs to try, at least, to clear the air, not only for his fellow Democrats, who have been put on the defensive by the right's relentless Tara-Tara-Tara drumbeat, but also for women's rights advocates, particularly the #MeToo movement, whose leaders are divided in this case by their own controversial "believe all women" mantra.

Reade, a staff assistant in the early 1990s in Biden's Senate office, was one of the women who spoke out last year about Biden's long-running reputation as a Mr. Hands, painfully well-documented (just Google "Joe Biden hands") in a variety of grip-and-grin ceremonial photos over the years.

 

Reade said last April that Biden had "rubbed her shoulders and neck" and "played with her hair."

She told The Union, a California newspaper, that she didn't feel sexualized. Instead she "compared the experience to being a lamp ... when it's too bright you throw it away."

But the story heated up after a March interview with left-wing podcaster Katie Halper in which Reade claimed Biden pushed her against a wall and penetrated her with his fingers.

The New York Times obtained a copy of a report Reade filed with the Washington, D.C., police in March, saying she was the victim of a sexual assault in 1993, the Times said. The report does not mention Biden by name, but she said the complaint was about him.

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(c) 2020 CLARENCE PAGE DISTRIBUTED BY TRIBUNE MEDIA SERVICES, INC.
 

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