“It never happened.” Democratic candidate for the White House Joe Biden came out of his silence on Friday to vehemently deny an accusation of sexual assault that poisons his campaign against Donald Trump.
These allegations on facts dating back to the 1990s “are not true,” insisted the former American vice-president.
Tara Reade, 56, accuses Joe Biden, 77, of having sexually assaulted her in a corridor of the United States Congress, when he was a senator and that she worked for him.
Without any real “word exchange”, she said for the first time in a podcast broadcast on March 25, “he put me against the wall”, kissed and “he penetrated me with his fingers”.
Several former collaborators of Joe Biden working in the Senate at the same time that she assured, however “unequivocally that she had never come to them to speak about it, to complain or to raise this question”, underlined the democratic candidate.
The accusation had been denied by the entourage of Joe Biden in mid-April. But for several weeks, it darkened his campaign and the candidate was under pressure to speak personally.
A month of silence while in these times of coronavirus the former vice-president of Barack Obama is waging a largely virtual campaign from the finished basement of his home in the state of Delaware.
“It never happened, period,” he said in an interview on MSNBC.
“I’m not going to question her motivations. I will not question or attack her. She has the right to say what she wants. And I have the right to say, look at the facts, check, “he continued.
” Nothing to hide “
On April 9, Tara Reade sent a report to the Washington police in which she claims to have been the victim of a “sexual assault” in 1993. The document – consulted by AFP – does not mention the name of Joe Biden.
Aware that the facts were prescribed, Ms. Reade told the conservative Washington Examiner that she had presented this report to demonstrate that she was ready to make an affidavit.
M me Reade also said to have filed a complaint to the services of the Senate after the events in 1993, but could not provide a copy of the document, as the New York Times.
Joe Biden asked the Senate to find the existence of this complaint in the National Archives, which lists the documents produced and received by the institutions of the American government.
“I have nothing to hide,” said the candidate. But he did not go so far as to request that all the archives of his time in the Senate be researched, stored at the University of Delaware, and which do not contain “private documents”, according to him.
A year ago, several women, including Tara Reade, accused Joe Biden of inappropriate gestures, including braces that were too long and embarrassing but that did not amount to sexual assault.
Walking on a delicate ridge, Joe Biden stressed that women must be “believed” when they speak up to report harassment or assault. We must “start with the assumption that they tell the truth” while insisting on the analysis of “circumstances” and “facts”, he added.
“The facts in this case never happened,” he said in reference to Tara Reade.
Since the abandonment of Bernie Sanders on April 8, Joe Biden is alone on the track on the Democratic side to face Donald Trump during the presidential election of November 3. It leads the way in the latest polls taking advantage of the criticisms against Donald Trump’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.
But the Tara Reade affair threatens to weaken one of the first acts of his duel against the Republican president. Joe Biden has announced that he will choose a woman running mate who will become the first vice president of the United States if he wins.