Democratic Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said Sunday that she believes former Vice President Joe Biden over his accuser, former Senate aide Tara Reade.
CNN anchor Jake Tapper questioned Whitmer on “State of the Union” about her support for Biden over Reade, who has accused the former vice president of sexual assault, noting that she had been among those voicing support for Dr. Christine Blasey Ford over the man she accused of similar behavior: Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. (RELATED: Biden Delegate Candidate Wants FBI To Investigate Journalists Who Broke Tara Reade Story)
Tapper began by referencing Biden’s Friday appearance on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” where he responded to the accusations against him. Biden also released a full formal statement denying that the assault ever occurred.
“You’ve said that you believe Vice President Biden. I want to compare that to 2018 when you said you believed Dr. Christine Blasey Ford after she accused now Justice Brett Kavanaugh of assault. Kavanaugh also, like Biden, categorically denied that accusation and Blasey Ford, to be honest, she did not have the contemporaneous accounts of her view of what happened that Tara Reade does,” Tapper explained. “You have spoken movingly about how you’re a survivor of assault yourself. Why do you believe Biden and not Kavanaugh? Are they not both entitled to the same presumption of innocence regardless of their political views?”
“Jake, as a survivor, and as a feminist, I’ll say this. We need to give people an opportunity to tell their story. Then we have a duty to vet it. And just because you’re a survivor doesn’t mean that every claim is equal,” Whitmer replied, going on to say that she felt that she had read enough about the allegations against Biden to make an informed decision on the facts.
“I know Joe Biden. And I’ve watched his defense. And there’s not a pattern that goes into this. And I think for these reasons, I’m very comfortable that Joe Biden is who he says he is. He’s — and you know what, that’s all I’m going to say about it,” Whitmer concluded.
“I really resent the fact that every time a case comes up, all of us survivors have to weigh in. It is reopening wounds and it is — you know take us at our word, ask us for our opinion and let’s move on,” Whitmer changed the subject then, appearing to imply that survivors should simply be taken at their word without scrutiny.
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“Just for the record, the reason I’m asking you is you’re the only Democrat on the show today, not because you’re a survivor and not because you’re a woman,” Tapper clarified.
“It’s not a criticism of you, you’re doing your job and I appreciate that. I’m just sharing I think some of the simmering, you know, anger that we survivors have every time, that we’ve got to confront this from someone else’s behavior that we weren’t a party to, that we weren’t even a part of the reality in the moment,” Whitmer said, repeating once more that she believed Biden because she felt that the accusations against him did not line up with his character.