Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) has now said that Tara Reade’s sexual assault allegation against former Vice President Joe Biden is not “clear cut,” despite her belief that something might have happened between them both.
Speaking with NPR, the far-left congresswoman called this a “messy moment” while acknowledging that some aspects of Reade’s account have been verified by journalists.
“There have been investigative journalists that have corroborated certain aspects of her account – that is undeniable – [and] have raised questions about other aspects of her account,” Ocasio-Cortez told NPR. “It certainly seems as though something has happened. I’m not sure… Frankly, this is a messy moment, and I think we need to acknowledge that – that it is not clear-cut.”
In March, Tara Reade claimed that then-senator Joe Biden sexually assaulted her while she served as an aide in his Senate offices during the Clinton administration. She has since detailed her account in multiple interviews and filed a criminal complaint against the former vice president with the Washington, D.C., police department. A former neighbor of Reade and Reade’s brother have both publicly stated that Reade told them of the alleged assault in the 1990s. Recently surfaced evidence also suggests that Reade’s mother called into CNN’s Larry King in the 1990s to complain about a prominent senator with whom her daughter had “problems.”
This past Saturday, the Associated Press reported that two new people, both of whom wished to remain anonymous, said that Reade spoke of Biden’s behavior prior to her going public.
Biden has unequivocally denied the allegation against him, claiming it “never happened.”
In the same interview with NPR, Ocasio-Cortez said this could be an important moment for survivors of sexual assault.
“I think that there is an impact here for survivors, and I think it’s very important to speak about what this moment means for survivors across the country,” the lawmaker said.
“I think a lot are watching how our leadership and our culture and our media respond to this, and I don’t think the response overall has been sufficient,” she added. “It’s very difficult because this is in a hyper-politicized zone, right? Instead of focusing on her account, instead of focusing on her story as a survivor, people are fast-forwarding to the political implications – ‘Do you want Trump to win? Will you be voting for Joe Biden?’ – and that denies justice in this situation.”
The politicization has certainly gotten in the way of an honest inquiry regarding Reade’s account. Just this week, Linda Hirshman, author of a book called “Reckoning: The Epic Battle Against Sexual Abuse and Harassment,” wrote an op-ed in The New York Times explaining that she believes Reade but will be voting for Joe Biden anyway:
All major Democratic Party figures have indicated they’re not budging on the presumptive nominee, and the transaction costs of replacing him would be suicidal. Barring some miracle, it’s going to be Mr. Biden.
So what is the greatest good or the greatest harm? Mr. Biden, and the Democrats he may carry with him into government, are likely to do more good for women and the nation than his competition, the worst president in the history of the Republic. Compared with the good Mr. Biden can do, the cost of dismissing Tara Reade — and, worse, weakening the voices of future survivors — is worth it.
Ocasio-Cortez added that she does not believe Tara Reade to be a political actor.
“While a lot of folks, again, are trying to jump to the political implications, she has never explicitly said ‘don’t support Joe Biden,’” Ocasio-Cortez said. “She hasn’t explicitly said anything in terms of a political remedy that she wants. If anything, it simply sounds like she wants to be heard.”
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