Nancy Pelosi latest high-profile female Democrat to back Joe Biden over sexual assault accusations

‘The happiest day for me this week was to support Joe Biden for President of the United States’

James Crump
Thursday 30 April 2020 18:08
Pelosi latest high profile female Democrat to back Biden over sexual assault claims

House speaker Nancy Pelosi has become the latest Democrat to back Joe Biden over an allegation that he sexually assaulted former aide, Tara Reade, on Capitol Hill in 1993.

In her first in-person press conference at the Capitol in weeks, Ms Pelosi told reporters that she thinks sexual assault allegations should be taken seriously, but said she supports the presumptive Democratic nominee for president.

“I have complete respect for the MeToo movement. I have four daughters and one son. And there’s a lot of excitement around the idea that women will be heard and be listened to,” she said.

However, Ms Pelosi added that there was never any record of the assault and said that “the happiest day for me this week was to support Joe Biden for President of the United States.”

During the press conference, Ms Pelosi told reporters that she is satisfied with Mr Biden’s response to the allegations.​

“I have great comfort level with the situation as I see it, with all the respect in the world for any woman who comes forward, with all the highest regard for Joe Biden, and that’s what I have to say about that.”

Mr Biden has not yet publicly responded to allegations that he assaulted Ms Reade.

Any comment about the allegation has come from Mr Biden’s campaign team, and Ms Pelosi was asked during an appearance on CNN on Thursday, whether he needs to personally respond to the allegation.

“It’s a matter that he has to deal with, but I am impressed with the people who worked for him at the time saying they absolutely never heard one iota of information about this,” she responded.

“Nobody ever brought forth a claim or had anybody else tell them about such a claim,” she said.

Ms Pelosi is not the only prominent female Democrat to defend the former vice president in the last few days, as both Stacey Abrams and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand backed him earlier this week.

Ms Abrams told CNN that Mr Biden is “a person who’s demonstrated that his love of family, his love of our community, has been made perfectly clear through his work as a congressional leader and as an American leader.”

She added: “I know Joe Biden, and I think that he is telling the truth and that this did not happen.”

Ms Reade has accused the former vice president of sexually assaulting her, in various interviews in the last few weeks.

She told CNN that when she worked for Mr Biden as an aide in 1993, he asked her to deliver a duffel bag to his office.

Ms Reade added that when she arrived, he “had me up against the wall; he used his knee to spread open my legs,” and “put his fingers inside me.” She alleges that after she pulled away, Mr Biden said: “Come on man. I heard — I thought you liked me.”

Ms Reade claimed that he then got angry with her and said “You are nothing to me. You are nothing,” but eventually held her by the shoulders and told her: “You’re OK. You’re fine.”

Earlier this week, resurfaced video footage of Larry King Live appeared to show Ms Reade’s mother ask the host for advice about inappropriate behaviour in Washington.

In the clip, which is from 1993, the same year that Ms Reade claims that Mr Biden assaulted her, an unnamed woman asked for advice to give her daughter, who had just left Washington after an incident.

“My daughter has just left there after working for a prominent senator, and could not get through with her problems at all, and the only thing she could have done was go to the press, and she chose not to do it out of respect for him,” she told the host.

Ms Reade told CNN that she believes that the voice in the clip, is her mother, Jeanette Altimus.

She said she decided not to call the police after the alleged assault, but told the outlet that she called Ms Altimus that night, who told her that she should.

Biden Deputy Campaign Manager Kate Bedingfield told CNN about the incident: “Vice President Biden has dedicated his public life to changing the culture and the laws around violence against women.

“He authored and fought for the passage and reauthorization of the landmark Violence Against Women Act. He firmly believes that women have a right to be heard – and heard respectfully,” she said.

“Such claims should also be diligently reviewed by an independent press. What is clear about this claim: it is untrue. This absolutely did not happen.”

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