Patterico's Pontifications


WaPo Editorial Board Calls On Joe Biden To Address Sexual Assault Allegations

Filed under: General — Dana @ 6:32 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Well, Joe Biden’s unfolding scandal – which may or may not lead anywhere – is certainly wreaking havoc in the Democratic Party, and with Democratic-aligned women’s groups. Everyone is showing their hypocritical underpants. There is little to no support for Tara Reade from the #MeToo and Believe All Women hens. And most ironically, no support from that feminist icon herself, Hillary Clinton, who endorsed Joe Biden yesterday. And of course, prominent Democrats, per instructions from the Biden camp, are parotting the party line: It did not happen. The bottom line is, when a man accused of such egregious behavior is the Democratic presidential nominee, Democrats circle the wagons and protect their tribe member, rather than hold him accountable. (Shades of Bill Clinton...) This makes it all the more surprising that the Washington Post bucked the Democratic company line and have called on Biden to address Reade’s claims:

TARA READE deserves to be heard, and voters deserve to hear her. They deserve to hear from Joe Biden, too.

The former vice president and presumptive Democratic presidential nominee has yet to speak publicly about the allegation Ms. Reade has lodged against him: that when she was a member of his Senate staff in the 1990s, Mr. Biden pushed her against a wall and put his fingers up her skirt and then inside her. Mr. Biden’s campaign says “this never happened.” Contemporaneous accounts of Ms. Reade’s claim are counterweighted by the denials of her superiors at the time that she reported any misconduct, as well as inconsistencies in her retelling.

There are, at the moment, no clear conclusions. There may never be. But that is no excuse for not searching. One place to start is the records covering Mr. Biden’s 36-year Senate career, donated to the University of Delaware in 2012 and slated for release to the public two years after Mr. Biden “retires from public life.” These could contain confirmation of any complaint Ms. Reade made, either through official congressional channels or to the three other employees she claims she informed not specifically of the alleged assault but more generally of harassment. They could also contain nothing of the sort. Insisting on an inventory doesn’t mean one believes Ms. Reade or doesn’t believe her. It signals only a desire for the public to know all that’s able to be known, which ought to be in everyone’s interest.

Why wouldn’t Biden want to be as clearly transparent as possible? Why wouldn’t he want to do everything he can to address the issues with supporters, and reassure Americans that he did not do what Reade has accused him of doing?

I don’t know what really happened. There are inconsistencies in Reade’s account, and we don’t know what inconsistencies there might be in Biden’s account until he addresses the matter.

P.S. Political whores or token doormats:

Kirsten Gillibrand:

“I stand by Vice President Biden,” Gillibrand said. “He’s devoted his life to supporting women and he has vehemently denied this allegation.”

Stacy Abrams:

“The New York Times did a deep investigation and they found that the accusation was not credible. I believe Joe Biden,” she said, adding that he’s “a person who’s demonstrated that his love of family, his love of our community, has been made perfectly clear through his work as a congressional leader and as an American leader. I know Joe Biden, and I think that he is telling the truth and that this did not happen.”

Amy Klobuchar (a former County Attorney who shockingly appears to believe that because the NYT wrote about the sexual assault allegations – without interviewing Joe Biden – the matter is settled):

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., said on Thursday that all sexual misconduct allegations should be thoroughly investigated and indicated that the one against former Vice President Joe Biden had been examined.

“He has said, and I agree with this, you’ve got to get to the bottom of every case and all allegations. I think The New York Times — I haven’t read all the stories. I read that one,” she said on MSNBC.

She seemed to be referring to a lengthy Times report titled “Examining Tara Reade’s Sexual Assault Allegation Against Joe Biden.”

“Your viewers should read that,” Klobuchar told MSNBC host Ari Melber. “It was very thorough. They interviewed people…”

I think this case has been investigated. I know the vice president as a major leader on domestic abuse, I worked with him on that. And I think that, again, the viewers should read the article. It was very thorough.”


22 Responses to “WaPo Editorial Board Calls On Joe Biden To Address Sexual Assault Allegations”

  1. Ugh. Hypocrisy is never in short supply on the left (and the right).

    Dana (0feb77)

  2. I’m sure you saw the tidbit, Dana, about how Stacey Abrams and Amy Klobuchar, two potential VP picks, were asked about the allegations and how they both absolutely parroted talking points provided by the Biden campaign almost word for word. Wagons are indeed circling.

    JVW (54fd0b)

  3. Yes, I saw that, JVW. Also, Kirsten Gillibrand. I’ve added political whores or token doormats? to the post.

    Dana (0feb77)

  4. From the Biden talking points memo:

    “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.”

    It’s absolutely mind-boggling to me that Democrats really believe that mucking around in Washington DC on the public teat for over four decades is a good thing. I can’t imagine that they would want to remind voters of Sloe Joe’s legacy of unaccomplishment.

    JVW (54fd0b)

  5. And none of that means that he didn’t behave improperly toward Reade, which is, of course, what they want us to believe.

    Dana (0feb77)

  6. Meanwhile…….

    Bill Melugin
    BREAKING: A source has provided me with this bulletin that will be sent out to all California police chiefs notifying them that tomorrow, Governor Newsom will announce the closure of ALL beaches and state parks effective May 1st in response to recent beach crowds in OC . @FOXLA


    harkin (8f4a6f)

  7. The women democrat veep candidates in waiting are right it is being investigated and wow! Not good news for groper joe. This is why biden himself has said nothing only his flaks.

    asset (351791)

  8. Klobuchar was clever with “I haven’t read all the stories”, which means she gave herself wiggle room on the Business Insider witnesses.

    Paul Montagu (230f56)

  9. Great post, Dana.

    I wanted to sleep on it before commenting, and I don’t what I can contribute. I have always seen the #MeToo movement as being, by and large, gold-digging, opportunistic, and manipulative, not to mention exploitative of the genuine victims, and all these ladies you point to seem to prove it.

    nk (1d9030)

  10. Gillibrand gave an almost Trumpian answer with “he has vehemently denied this allegation.” It reminds me of Helsinki, where Trump believed Putin’s lies about interfering in our election, saying “but I will tell you that president Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today.” She wanted to be taken seriously, but all too often she came out looking like Political Barbie, and this is just the latest example.

    Paul Montagu (230f56)

  11. From the reporting thus far (and we have nothing other than this to guide us), I am convinced that Mr. Biden acted in a way that made Ms. Reade uncomfortable. In this, her original complaint echoes several others. What I have difficulty in believing is the recent (?) embellishments to the initial complaint.

    John B Boddie (f7954e)

  12. Gillibrand is still hated by the partisan left for what she did to Al Franken. She wants to be President someday. She doesn’t get there by scuppering Biden’s chances.

    #metoo is real, and addresses a real problem. Of course there are hacks, wackos, and opportunists. What political group doesn’t have those? #Metoo’s problem is that group’s sincere contingent finds due process and laws of evidence inconvenient.

    Appalled (1a17de)

  13. Here’s a good piece in USA Today from a former prosecutor. Ms. Reade has left plenty of doubt. As of a day or two ago, I was on the “more likely than not” side, and now it’s “more not than likely”.
    Sure, investigate, but I don’t think her story is going to age well.

    Paul Montagu (b3f51b)

  14. #Metoo is a leftwing front group whose only goal is to elect leftist members to Congress. It doesn’t surprise me that they’d circle the wagons and protect their current candidate.

    To reiterate what has been said time and time again, this is how you got Trump. If people held their politicians accountable to behavior that would get a normal person in deep trouble, Trump would’ve never been able to skate for his words and idiotic moments. But people were tired of the double standard where Republican candidates are tarred and feathered while Democrat candidates are praised as saints no matter the skeletons in their closet. So the base decided to elect a man with a vile personal life to send a message. It seems that message is being ignored and it’s just business as usual.

    Don’t be surprised if Trump is reelected in large part due to these actions by the political left.

    NJRob (4d595c)

  15. That is a devastating article you linked at 14, Paul:

    “President Putin has an alluring combination of strength with gentleness. His sensuous image projects his love for life, the embodiment of grace while facing adversity.”

    In March 2019, Reade essentially dismissed the idea of Russian interference in the 2016 American presidential election as hype. She said she loved Russia and her Russian relatives — and “like most women across the world, I like President Putin … a lot, his shirt on or shirt off.”


    nk (1d9030)

  16. @15, can you point me to the head of #metoo? I’d like to ask them a question.

    Time123 (ca85c9)

  17. The New York Times has a story about this too.

    This was after Buzzfeed published the talking points the Biden campaign circulated when the story broke into the New York Times. It is said that it said that the New York Times said it was untrue, but the talking points didn;t say that – they wee more carefully written.

    A person associated with the campaign (who received the talking points) told the New York Times under the condition of anonymity that they’d withdrawn those talking points a few hours after the sent them out – and indeed they haven’t been heard – because they decided on a different strategy.

    Sammy Finkelman (af3697)

  18. I agree that there are inconsistencies in Reade’s story that must be addressed. But that does not mean that Joe Biden should not be asked directly about her claims. He is seeking the presidency, that’s a big deal. And if someone has made serious allegations against him like Reade has, then he needs to address those allegations.

    Dana (0feb77)

  19. Dana’s right they should address this stuff. The Putin comments are nuts though.

    Dustin (e5f6c3)

  20. 17. Time123 (ca85c9) — 4/30/2020 @ 8:24 am

    Look at this, from today’s New York Times story: (link at 18)

    For more than three weeks, progressive activists and women’s rights advocates debated how to handle an allegation of sexual assault against Joseph R. Biden Jr. The conversations weren’t easy, nor were the politics: Mr. Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, faced one allegation; his opponent, President Trump, at least a dozen.

    Finally, several of the women’s groups prepared a public letter that praised Mr. Biden’s work as an “outspoken champion for survivors of sexual violence” but also pushed him to address the allegation from Tara Reade, a former aide who worked in Mr. Biden’s Senate office in the early 1990s.

    “Vice President Biden has the opportunity, right now, to model how to take serious allegations seriously,” the draft letter said. “The weight of our expectations matches the magnitude of the office he seeks.”

    Then Mr. Biden’s team heard about the advocates’ effort. According to people involved in the discussions, the group put the letter on hold as it began pressuring Biden advisers to push the candidate to make a statement himself before the end of April, which is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Along with liberal organizers, they urged him to acknowledge the importance of survivors and the need for systemic change around issues of sexism and assault.

    Nearly two weeks later, Mr. Biden and his campaign have yet to make that statement, and the advocates have not released their letter. The Biden campaign has said little publicly beyond saying that women deserve to be heard and insisting that the allegation is not true; privately, Biden advisers have circulated talking points urging supporters to deny that the incident occurred….

    …Since Ms. Reade spoke out in March with her allegation — that Mr. Biden penetrated her with his fingers in a Senate building in 1993 — his aides and advisers have denied it, saying it is “untrue.” They have remained unconcerned about any significant political blowback from Ms. Reade’s accusation, according to people who have spoken with the campaign, who insisted on anonymity to discuss private conversations.

    Top Biden aides are telling allies that they do not see the allegation resonating with voters in a measurable way, these people say. They’re confident that the allegation will not shake voters’ perceptions of Mr. Biden’s character as a devoted father and husband, with family ties forged through deep tragedies. They also believe that voters will view the allegation with great skepticism.

    A Biden campaign spokesman declined to comment for this article on Wednesday. A Biden adviser said that the campaign was talking to activists and that Mr. Biden considered their views important.

    The Biden campaign talking points, which were first reported by BuzzFeed News, instruct supporters to describe the candidate as a “fierce advocate for women” who has never faced any “complaint, allegation, hint or rumor of any impropriety or inappropriate conduct.” The talking points also inaccurately suggested that an investigation by The New York Times this month found that “this incident did not happen.”

    In a statement issued Wednesday, The Times noted that the investigation “made no conclusion either way.”

    One person who received a version of these talking points said it was pulled back by the campaign several hours later because the campaign was revising its strategy. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity to disclose the private communication.

    Mr. Biden has yet to be asked about the allegation in an interview. In a joint appearance with Hillary Clinton that was livestreamed on his website on Tuesday, he discussed domestic violence, economic challenges facing women and the stresses of the coronavirus pandemic. No mention was made of Ms. Reade or her specific allegation.

    [Bad things happening to women, but not the same thing, though]

    Sammy Finkelman (af3697)

  21. #Metoo is a leftwing front group whose only goal is to elect leftist members to Congress.

    Indeed. Those #MeTooers are definitely clearing the road for the Left to take over by taking out such right-wingers as Weinstein, Epstein, Franken, Mark Halperin, Louis CK, Stephen Bittel, Kevin Spacey, Matt Lauer, Les Moonves, Charlie Rose, etc.

    Paul Montagu (b3f51b)

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