by Hans Izaak Kriek*
A new poll and interviews with Democratic strategists indicate that the sexual assault charges immediately complicate the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee’s efforts to broaden his support. The survey, conducted in the days after Biden appeared on MSNBC’s ‘Morning Joe to personally deny the charges for the first time, found 28 percent of Democrats ‘definitely or probably’ favor replacing Biden with another nominee to take on President Donald Trump in November.
The prospect, while exceedingly remote, comes as Biden works to coalesce the support of liberals and younger voters who backed Bernie Sanders in the primary. It also underscores tension in the party amid an international movement against harassment and sexual assault. “The Democratic Party faces a real crisis of conscience,” said Camille Rivera, a Democratic strategist. “We have spent so much effort and energy calling out Donald Trump and creating a movement around the importance of believing women and at the same time we have a troubling accusation about our Democratic nominee.”
Biden, whom Reade accused of sexually assaulting her in 1993 when she was a young aide in his office, forcefully denied the allegation in the MSNBC interview. “Unequivocally, it never, never happened. It didn’t. It never happened,” he said. But 45% of all voters between 18 and 34 years said they thought Reade’s allegation was true, , according to a Morning Consult poll.
A focus group of young people who identify as Democrats or independents in 11 battleground states found that they preferred former presidential candidate Bernie Sanders and saw Biden ‘as a blank slate’, according to NBC News.
Tara Reade spoke out in front of the camera
In a preview clip released by former Fox News and NBC host Megyn Kelly started by quoting Biden, who himself recently denied Reade’s claims. "He did say in his view, accusers ’should start off with the presumption that they’re telling the truth.’ Do you think he has afforded you that presumption?" Kelly asked. "No," Reade responded. "I mean, it’s been stunning, actually, how some of his surrogates with the blue checks, you know his surrogates have been saying really horrible things about me and to me on social media. He has not himself, but there is a measure of hypocrisy with the campaign saying it is safe. It has not been safe. All my social media has been hacked, all of my personal information has been dragged through”
When asked if she wanted Biden to withdraw from the 2020 race, Reade said, "I wish he would. but he will not, but I wish he would”. "If he’s watching this, what do you want to say to him?" Kelly asked. "I want to say, ’You and I were there, Joe Biden. Please step forward and be held accountable. You should not be running on character for the president of the United States."
Her story becomes underlined by a court document from 1996, it shows former Senate staffer Tara Reade told her ex-husband she was sexually harassed while working for Senator Joe Biden in 1993. The declaration, exclusively obtained by The Tribune in San Louis Obispo, California, does not say Biden committed the harassment nor does it mention Reade’s more recent allegation of sexual assault. Reade has recently said that in 1993, Biden pushed her up against a wall in a semi-private hallway, reached under her skirt, and penetrated her with his fingers. When she resisted his advances, Reade said, Biden became annoyed and said, “Aw, man. I heard you liked me.”
The double standards of Nancy Pelosi
A reporter was asking Pelosi during her latest press conference how Democrats will explain the fact that they demanded an investigation into the allegations against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s but not into the ones against Biden. “Well, let me just say, I respect your question, and I don’t need a lecture or a speech,” Pelosi said, cutting off the reporter at her press briefing at the Capitol.
“As far as Biden is of concern, how do Democrats square with the idea that they are essentially, they’re standing by Biden, but they’re using a comparatively different standard than with Kavanaugh when they demanded an investigation on Justice Kavanaugh when a very similar allegation came out on him,” the reporter asked before she was cut off by the House Speaker. “There was never any record,” Pelosi explained in her response. ’Nobody ever came forward and nobody ever came forward to say something about it other than the principle involved.
Christine Blasey Ford, a professor and former classmate of Kavanaugh’s, issued a sexual assault allegation against him after he was nominated to become a Supreme Court Justice by Trump in 2018. While the accuser’s allegations stemmed back to the 1980s, when the two attended the same party while they were both teenagers, Democrats still insisted her allegations be heard and that Kavanaugh be investigated before confirmation hearings commenced.
Blasey Ford did not report or reveal details of the assault at the time, like what Pelosi says makes Reade’s allegations unbelievable. When Pelosi was pushed to respond to the fact that Biden has not yet directly addressed the sexual assault allegations issued by Tara Reade in March, the California Democrat insisted it couldn’t be true since the victim had not said anything at the time of the assault in 1993.
Pelosi seemed to suggest that the election is more important than dwelling on sexual assault claims against the candidate. “We have an important election at hand,” Pelosi asserted.
Several of the progressive Democrats challengers in the House elections in November who believe Reade said they are concerned about Biden’s ability to defeat President Donald Trump, who has been accused of sexual assault and misconduct by multiple women, because of the allegation. Rebecca Parson, who is running against Washington Democratic Representative Derek Kilmer, is one of the few who has called for Biden to withdraw from the race. She wants his delegates to be reallocated, and for other Democratic candidates to restart their campaigns so the party can nominate someone else. "We need to go against Trump with somebody who he can’t attack on charges of hypocrisy,” she said. “Trump will not hesitate to seize on it and accuse Joe Biden of hypocrisy. Unfortunately, with Trump, it doesn’t matter that he has extremely serious allegations against him.”
*International political commentator for European Business Review and editor-in-chief at Kriek Media International