Democratic Party’s presumptive presidential nominee Joe Biden on Friday categorically denied the sexual assault allegation levelled against him by a former Senate aide 27 years ago, saying this never happened.
This is the first time that the 77-year-old former US vice president has commented publicly on the allegations which threatened to disrupt his November 2020 presidential bid against incumbent President Donald Trump, a Republican.
Tara Reade, now 56, was working as a staff assistant to Biden from 1992-93, when he was a Senator for the US state of Delaware.
Citing the full and growing record of inconsistencies in the accusations, Biden, in a statement, said: ?They aren’t true. This never happened, the CNBC reported.
The statement was released ahead of an interview on MSNBC’s ?Morning Joe? programme where Biden was expected to address the accusations personally for the first time.
“While the details of these allegations of sexual harassment and sexual assault are complicated, two things are not complicated. One is that women deserve to be treated with dignity and respect, and when they step forward they should be heard, not silenced. The second is that their stories should be subject to appropriate inquiry and scrutiny.
“Responsible news organizations should examine and evaluate the full and growing record of inconsistencies in her story, which has changed repeatedly in both small and big ways, Biden said.
He said he has not reached out to Reade, and does not remember her making any complaint.
“This never happened, and when she first made the claim, we made it clear that it never happened, and it’s as simple as that,” Biden added.
He tweeted a link containing his complete statement on the sexual assault allegation.
“I recognise my responsibility to be a voice, an advocate, and a leader for the change in culture that has begun but is nowhere near finished.
“As a Presidential candidate, I’m accountable to the American people. We have lived long enough with a President who doesn’t think he is accountable to anyone, and takes responsibility for nothing. That’s not me. I believe being accountable means having the difficult conversations, even when they are uncomfortable. People need to hear the truth,” he said.
Biden, who served as former president Barack Obama’s deputy for eight years from 2009 to 2017, said that he started his work over 25 years ago with the passage of the Violence Against Women Act. “As president, I’m committed to finishing the job,” he said.
“I have spent my career learning from women the ways in which we as individuals and as policy makers need to step up to make their hard jobs easier, with equal pay, equal opportunity, and workplaces and homes free from violence and harassment.
“I know how critical women’s health issues and basic women’s rights are. That has been a constant through my career, and as President, that work will continue. And I will continue to learn from women, to listen to women, to support women, and yes, to make sure women’s voices are heard,” the Democratic Party’s presumptive nominee said.
Biden is the presumptive presidential nominee of the Democratic party. He is likely to be formally nominated by the Democratic National Convention in Wisconsin in August.
He has already been endorsed by several leaders, including his one-time rivals for the Democratic nomination Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, former president Obama and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
More than a dozen women have levelled allegations against President Trump, ranging from unwelcome advances to sexual harassment and assault. Trump has denied those allegations.
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