The Joe Biden campaign is circulating talking points among Democrats to dismiss the sexual assault allegation made by former staffer Tara Reade.
According to a report by Buzzfeed, his presidential campaign have been working behind the scenes to coordinate and unify Democratic messaging on the scandal, advising surrogates earlier this month to repeat the mantra that the allegation “did not happen.”
But the messaging shows that while Biden has stayed quiet on the allegations on the eve of his nomination, aides were taking the claims seriously enough behind the scenes to coordinate messaging among other Democrats to try to cast the matter as one that’s been thoroughly vetted and determined to be unfounded.
“Biden believes that all women have the right to be heard and to have their claims thoroughly reviewed,” the talking points read. “In this case, a thorough review by the New York Times has led to the truth: this incident did not happen.”
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“Vice President Joe Biden has spent over 40 years in public life: 36 years in the Senate; 7 Senate campaigns, 2 previous presidential runs, two vice presidential campaigns, and 8 years in the White House,” they went on.
“There has never been a complaint, allegation, hint or rumor of any impropriety or inappropriate conduct like this regarding him — ever.”
While Biden himself has not commented on the allegations, Buzzfeed reported that his campaign referred to a previous April 13 statement:
Vice President Biden has dedicated his public life to changing the culture and the laws around violence against women. 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.
When Bernie Sanders dropped out of the presidential race, Reade took to Twitter to speak out against the Democratic wall of silence:
Many of you that supported different Dem candidates are struggling right now.
I will still fight to have my history with Joe Biden known that he sexually harassed & assaulted me when I was his staffer in 1993.
You all need to vote for who you wish. For me there is no democracy.
Last month, Tara Reade gave an interview to the Associated Press, where she outlined the horrific attack she said took place near the U.S. Capitol in 1993:
And then he went down my skirt and then up inside it. And he penetrated me with his fingers, whatever. And he was kissing me at the same time and he was saying something to me. He said several things and I can’t remember everything [that] he said. I remember a couple of things. I remember his saying, first, like as he was doing it, ‘Do you want to go somewhere else?’ and then him saying to me, when I pulled away, he got finished doing what he was doing and I, how I was pulled back and he said, ‘Come on man, I heard you liked me.’ That phrase stayed with me because I kept thinking what I might have said. And I can’t remember exactly if he said ‘I thought’ or if ‘I heard.’ It’s like he implied that I had done this.
“For me, everything shattered in that moment,” she recalled. “He wasn’t trying to do anything more. But I looked up to him. He was my father’s age. He was this champion of women’s rights in my eyes and I couldn’t believe it was happening.”