Now that the American mainstream media is finally covering a credible sexual assault allegation against former U.S. vice president Joe Biden, it has at long last fallen to the 2020 Democratic presidential nominee to address the controversy.
Can Biden – whose candidacy has already survived allegations of inappropriate touching – survive the scandal?
He’s not off to a very good start …
“I’m saying unequivocally: It never, never happened,” Biden said of the allegation during an appearance on MSNBC’s Morning Joe last week.
In addition to his categorical denial, Biden further dismissed the claim that he was applying a double standard to his situation given his response to similar allegations leveled in 2018 against U.S. supreme court justice Brett Kavanaugh. In that case, Biden argued in favor of adopting a presumption of truth regarding such claims.
“For a woman to come forward in the glaring lights, the focus nationally, you’ve got to start off with the presumption that at least the essence of what she is talking about is real,” Biden said at the time.
“In the end, in every case, the truth is what matters,” Biden said. “In this case, the truth is: The claims are false.”
Biden went on to refer to himself as an “open book.”
“There is nothing for me to hide,” he said. “Nothing at all.”
Is that true, though? While his denial headlined news reports, Biden is getting slammed for his lack of transparency in responding to the allegation – particularly his ongoing refusal to release U.S. Senate records he previously turned over to his alma mater, the University of Delaware.
More on that in a moment …
First, the allegation at hand: According to Tara Reade, a former Biden staffer, the career politician sexually assaulted her in a basement office in the U.S. Capitol in early 1993 while she was working for the then-U.S. senator from Delaware. Reade claimed Biden – who had allegedly summoned her to the office to bring him a gym bag – pushed her up against a wall, groped her and penetrated her with his fingers.
“He was whispering to me and trying to kiss me at the same time, and he was saying, ‘Do you want to go somewhere else?’” Reade recalled in a recent interview with reporter Alexandra Jaffe of The Associated Press. “I remember wanting to say stop, but I don’t know if I said it out loud or if I just thought it. I was kind of frozen up.”
(Click to view)
Reade – in her early twenties at the time (above) – said she pulled away from the then-50-year-old Biden, who became upset.
“Come on, man, I heard you liked me,” he allegedly told her.
At least four people have confirmed that Reade previously shared details of the alleged assault with them. And while that obviously does not confirm her version of events, it certainly lends credibility to her narrative (especially if we are applying the Kavanaugh standard). Meanwhile, seven other women have publicly alleged that Biden either touched them inappropriately or made physical contact with them in such a way as to make them feel uncomfortable – which lends credibility to the narrative that Biden has a habit of lecherousness.
Again, though, as we have frequently pointed out these allegations are incredibly difficult to corroborate. Which leads to perpetual injustice – both for victims of sexual assault and for those who are falsely accused of committing such crimes.
“In many cases, there are no witnesses – leading to the classic ‘he said, she said’ conundrum,” we wrote last month in our initial treatment of this case. “Also the clear line between consent – and lack thereof – is also often blurred, often yielding outcomes inconsistent with the facts.”
“One of the most odious crimes we can think of – a crime that our justice system absolutely has to get right – is regularly ‘gotten wrong,’” we noted last fall in reporting on an alleged sexual assault at Furman University in Greenville, S.C. “With tragic, life-altering consequences.”
And of course all of this is before we address the various partisan, ideological or self-interested blinders applied by those who have a stake – perceived or actual – in the outcome of the situation.
As the American media belatedly begins vetting the allegations against Biden in this climate of preconception, it appears one of the Democratic nominee’s first big problems is his refusal to embrace the “open book” mentality he cited in his initial denial.
Specifically, Biden is getting excoriated (and rightfully so) for refusing to release the papers he provided to his alma mater – despite previously calling for the identification and release of “any record of the complaint she alleges she filed.”
Biden claimed the Delaware records do not include personnel files that could provide information related to the Reade allegations – but that they do contain documents that could be “taken out of context” and become “fodder in a campaign.”
One thing is clear: The 1,850 boxes of documents and 415 gigabytes of records turned over to the school in June 2012 contain something Biden does not want the public to see.
Delaware was supposed to release the collection in January of 2019 – two years after Biden’s second term as vice president ended – but the school abruptly changed course prior to Biden announcing his presidential bid. Now, it claims the information will not be released until two years after Biden retires from “public life” – an extremely nebulous timetable.
Also, the school claimed in a statement to multiple national media outlets that it was in the process of “curating” the collection – and that this work would continue “at least into the spring of 2021,” or months after the 2020 presidential election.
How convenient for Biden …
Last week, Business Insider reported that at some point between April 2019 and March of this year, Biden’s campaign sent operatives to Delaware who “rifled through” the collection on “at least one occasion.”
It is not immediately clear what the operatives were looking for – nor is it clear whether any documents were removed from the collection.
(Click to view)
(Via: The White House)
Biden is not the only candidate running for president to face allegations of sexual misconduct. U.S. president Donald Trump (above) has faced similar claims in the past – and voters chose to disregard those allegations and elect him to the White House in 2016.
To be clear: We make no presumption as to the veracity of claims directed against either man. But it is hard to ignore the double standard – first adopted by members of the left-leaning media and now adopted by Biden and other liberal politicians – when it comes to assessing the merits of such accusations.
Such tribally based perception – irrespective of its origin – is wrong. But it has sadly become the modus operandi for both parties and the special interest/ media hacks who blindly support them.
As for Biden, we believe his mishandling of the sexual assault allegation has the potential to do lasting damage to his candidacy – particularly when coupled with his leftward ideological lurching, dubious mental fitness, lingering demographic deficits and unique exposure to the “Ukrainian meddling” scandal that Democrats sought to hang around Trump’s neck.
Bottom line? That is a lot of baggage …
This news outlet endorsed Trump in 2016 (twice) but we will not be endorsing him again in 2020. Why not? Because of his fundamental failure to live up to his promises on fiscal issues. Having said that, we will not be endorsing Biden either.
Whether either or both of them are sexual predators we do not know … but we do know neither of them supports the sort of pro-freedom, pro-free markets policies that will be necessary to lift our nation out of its looming economic recession.
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