Joe Biden Breaks His Silence On Sexual Assault Allegations: ‘This Never Happened’

Joe Biden speaking in Delaware.
Drew Angerer / Getty Images

Joe Biden released a statement on Friday morning denying Tara Reade’s allegations that the presumptive Democratic nominee for president sexually assaulted her 27 years ago.

According to CNN, this announcement is Biden’s first detailed response to his former aide’s allegation.

“While the details of these allegations of sexual harassment and sexual assault are complicated, two things are not complicated. One is that women deserve to be treated with dignity and respect, and when they step forward they should be heard, not silenced. The second is that their stories should be subject to appropriate inquiry and scrutiny.”

The former vice president went on to write that “responsible news organizations” should pay closer attention and assess the growing record of inconsistencies in her story, which Biden claims has changed repeatedly.

The statement continued to make refutations of Reade’s claim, explaining how the former aide said she raised the issues with her supervisor and senior staffers from his office at the time. He affirmed that the staffers — two men and a woman — have said that she “never came to them and complained or raised issues.”

Biden also mentioned the fact that many press outlets that have spoken with his former staffers have yet to acknowledge anyone that corroborated her allegations. Biden followed this up by assuring that his staffers knew the culture of his office, and that they would not have tolerated harassment “in any way.”

Biden’s statement came on the heels of an MSNBC interview on Friday morning, where he addressed Reade’s claims. In the interview, Biden said he is “saying unequivocally, it never, never happened. It didn’t. It never happened.”

He added he has not reached out to Reade, and does not remember her making any complaints. Biden told MSNBC that since Reade first made the claim, he and his camp have made it clear that these allegations never took place.

Before Friday’s statements, Biden has only responded with a statement from his deputy campaign manager, Kate Bedingfield. That statement highlighted Biden’s role in passing the Violence Against Women Act.

The former vice president also discussed how he did not know why Reade came out at this time with allegations but maintains that “she has a right to say whatever she wants to say.”

In March, Reade revealed the allegation that Biden sexually assaulted her back in 1993 when he was serving in the U.S. Senate. She was working on his staff at the time. Reade claimed Biden pushed her up against a wall in a Senate corridor and penetrated her with his fingers. Reade’s complaint has since been labeled inactive by the Washington D.C. Metropolitan Police Department.