Former Vice President Joe Biden directly denied the allegation of sexual assault against him Friday on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”
Biden, the presumptive 2020 Democratic presidential nominee, was publicly accused by Tara Reade on March 25 of sexually assaulting her in the early 1990s. The alleged incident occurred during Reade’s time as a former senate staffer for the then-Delaware senator.
Reade’s accusation was largely avoided by legacy outlets for a month before more evidence came to light that could corroborate her story. Since then, pressure mounted for Biden to directly address the allegation, as he previously only denied it through a spokesperson. (RELATED: It Took 37 Days For Media To Ask Joe Biden About Tara Reade’s Sexual Assault Accusation)
“It is not true,” Biden said Friday on MSNBC. “I’m saying unequivocally it never, never happened and it didn’t.”
“Morning Joe” announced Thursday evening that co-hosts Mika Brzezinski, Joe Scarborough and Willie Geist would be joined by Biden the following morning. Biden was expected “to respond for the first time to the recent allegation of sexual assault,” the network tweeted.
Biden denied the allegation in a written statement minutes before he was set to go on MSNBC to address the incident Friday.
— MSNBC Public Relations (@MSNBCPR) April 30, 2020
The media’s avoidance surrounding Reade’s allegation allowed Biden roughly five weeks of silence, The Washington Free Beacon noted in an analysis published April 29. Biden faced 142 questions in 19 interviews since Reade’s allegation came to light. (RELATED: Second Hopeful VP Doesn’t Believe Biden’s Accuser)
This equals nearly four hours of speaking time, many of which came on big networks. Biden was asked a total of zero questions about Reade’s sexual assault allegation, the Free Beacon reported.
Biden spoke at length with Brzezinski about the allegation. He said in Friday’s written statement that he would tell the Senate to look through the files from his time as a Delaware senator at the National Archives and Records Administration.
Reade allegedly issued a complaint against him in 1993 and Biden said that this complaint would be made public if found. Brzezinski asked if he is “absolutely certain” that there is no record of a complaint from Reade about him.
“I am absolutely positive that no one I am aware of was ever made aware of a complaint, formal complaint made of or by Tara Reade against me at the time,” Biden said.
Brzezinski pressed Biden numerous times regarding the University of Delaware documents that are currently locked up. He said there are no “personnel records” at that location.
Biden also explained that the documents “could be taken out of context” if fully released.
The “Morning Joe” co-host pushed Biden on his past comments regarding allegations against Associate Justice of the Supreme Court Brett Kavanaugh.
“Are women to be believed unless it pertains to you?” Brzezinski asked.
“Look, women are to be believed, given the benefit of the doubt,” Biden responded. “If they come forward and say something that they said happened to them, they should start off with the presumption they are telling the truth. Then you have to look at the circumstances and the facts. And the facts in this case do not exist. They never happened.”