Joe Biden said he doesn’t remember Tara Reade. In an interview on The Last Word with Laurence O’Donnell Thursday night, the presumed Democratic presidential nominee said that voters “probably shouldn’t vote for me” if they believe Reade’s allegation of sexual assault.
“I wouldn’t vote for me if I believed Tara Reade,” Biden explained.
The former vice president said that voters should “vote their heart.”
Reade was an aide in Biden’s Senate office, and she said that, in 1993, Biden assaulted her. Biden first addressed the allegations earlier this month, saying that they were untrue. In his interview with O’Donnell, he went further, saying that he didn’t remember Reade being a part of his Senate staff.
“But let me get something clear, when a woman makes a claim that she has been harassed or abused, and this claim has changed… she should be taken seriously,” Biden said in the interview.
He continued, saying that claims should be heard and thoroughly vetted but that what ultimately matters most is the truth. In this case, Biden said that the alleged incident never happened.
O’Donnell then pointed to a New York Times opinion piece that argued that those who believed Tara Reade should still vote for Biden. The host asked Biden what he would say to women who were ready to vote for Biden until the allegation came out.
After explaining that women who believe the allegation shouldn’t vote for him, Biden said that Reade’s story around the allegation had changed. He continued, explaining that he didn’t want to question Reade’s motives, but that the claim had been refuted by several members of his staff at the time.
“This is just totally, thoroughly, completely out of character. And the idea that in a public place, in a hallway I would assault a woman? I mean, it’s just- I- anyway, I promise you. It never happened,” Biden said.
Elsewhere in the interview, Biden also discussed whether he would pardon President Donald Trump if he was elected president. He said that he would commit to not pardoning Trump and said that no one is above the law.
Biden also addressed the FBI investigation into Michael Flynn, saying that he was one of several officials who had asked for the identity of the unnamed American who was speaking to Russians. That unnamed American turned out to be Flynn. Biden said that he was never part of a criminal investigation into Flynn, nor did he have any knowledge of such an investigation.