Former Vice President Joe Biden denied that he sexually assaulted former Senate aide Tara Reade in his first public interview addressing the claim.
Reade came forward earlier this year to claim that Biden pushed her up against a wall and penetrated her with his fingers during an encounter in 1993 when she worked in his office. Several of Reade’s friends and her brother told The New York Times that she told them about the alleged assault at the time.
This week, a former neighbor and a former colleague came forward to say Reade told them about the allegation in the mid-90s.
The Biden campaign has denied the allegation and several former colleagues who worked with Reade said they did not recall her ever bringing it up.
A number of Democratic women like Stacey Abrams, Kirsten Gillibrand, and Nancy Pelosi defended Biden in recent days.
"No, it is not true," Biden said in an interview on Morning Joe. "I am saying unequivocally it never ever happened — and it didn't."
"I don't remember any type of complaint she might have made," Biden added. "It was 27 years ago, and I don't remember. Nor does anyone else that I'm aware of."
Biden, who said that women should be “believed” during Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings, denied that there was a double standard.
"From the very beginning, I said 'believing women' meant taking the woman's claim seriously when she came forward and then vetting it," he said. "That's true in this case, as well. Women have the right to be heard . . . In the end, the truth is what matters. And in this case, the claims are false."
Biden pressed on records:
Reade has claimed she filed a complaint at the time. Just before the interview, Biden called for the National Archives to identify "any record of the complaint she alleges she filed and make available to the press any such document."
"Are you confident there is nothing?" host Mika Brzezinski asked.
"I'm confident there is nothing. No one ever brought it to the attention of me," he said. "No one is aware of any such complaint. I'm not worried about it at all. If there was a complaint, that's where it would be . . . No one has it, as far as I'm aware."
Biden deflected when asked about his personal records being restricted.
"The [University of Delaware] said it's going to take them time to go through all the boxes," he said. "But look, a record like this can only be in one place. My archives do not contain personnel files . . . If that document existed, they would exist in the National Archives."