Joe Biden Said He Believes All Women. Does He Believe Tara Reade?
When it comes to #MeToo sexual misconduct issues, former Vice President Joe Biden, the Democratic Party’s presumptive 2020 presidential nominee, has made it no secret where he stands: automatically believe women.
“For a woman to come forward in the glaring lights of focus, nationally, you’ve got to start off with the presumption that at least the essence of what she’s talking about is real,” said Biden during the confirmation hearings for Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, who faced accusations that as a teenager he had assaulted a woman at a party.
As vice president, Biden played an important role in the Obama administration’s efforts to compel colleges and universities to take sexual violence more seriously—and to adopt policies that limited the due process rights and presumption of innocence for the accused. In recent years, his rhetoric on these issues has been in lockstep with #MeToo activists.
Despite his public pronunciations on the subject of never touching women without their explicit verbal consent, Biden has previously faced accusations that he was too handsy with people. But now the former vice president is facing a much more serious accusation of sexual assault, from an alleged former staffer named Tara Reade.
It remains to be seen whether the mainstream media will assign Reade’s story as much credibility and importance as that of Christine Blasey Ford, the woman who accused Kavanaugh; they certainly have not done so yet. In any case, supporters of Biden—as well as the candidate himself—should take this opportunity to reflect on whether automatic belief is a useful or practical approach for handling decades’ old claims of misconduct.
Reade describes herself as a “California-based victim rights advocate and activist” in her interview with the journalist Katie Halper, who has helped bring this accusation to light. Reade says she worked for Biden in the early
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