Team Biden could not have chosen a more sympathetic environment in which to break his silence over former staffer Tara Reade’s allegations of sexual assault than MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” (Unless, of course, Chris Hayes were to show up.)
Rather than fading away, the accusations have actually gained steam ever since a video surfaced last Friday of a telephone call from Reade’s late mother to the “Larry King Live” show shortly after the alleged incident occurred in 1993. Reade’s account was further bolstered on Monday when a neighbor from that period of time and a former colleague came forward to corroborate her story. These allegations had been previously corroborated by her brother and a friend.
There were no bombshells. Nor did Biden have any moments of confusion. There were times when his speech wasn’t perfect, but nothing crazy happened.
The show’s co-host, Mika Brzezinski, conducted the portion of the interview about the Reade allegations, and to her credit, she was surprisingly aggressive in her questioning. She continued to press and asked the same questions in different ways.
Biden repeatedly answered, “It did not happen. Period.”
The interview lasted for about 20 minutes. There were times when Biden was clearly beginning to lose his patience, and had to work at keeping his temper in check.
Asked whether Reade’s allegations are true, Biden replied, “No, it is not true. I’m saying unequivocally, it did not happen and it didn’t.”
The former Vice President said his campaign has not reached out to Reade.
He dodged the question of whether or not he remembers Reade.
Minutes before the interview began, Biden “called on the National Archives to release the complaint Reade says she filed back in 1993.”
Biden remains adamant that the documents currently housed inside the University of Delaware Library do not include any personnel records. If a record of a complaint by Reade did exist, it would be found in the National Archives and his campaign has asked them to search for any such document.
He told Brzezinski, “I’m confident there is nothing, no one that I’m aware of filed a complaint, no one in my office at the time is aware of any such request or complaint. I’m not worried about it at all. If there’s a complaint, that’s [the National Archives] where it would be.”
He repeated, “This is an open book. There’s nothing for me to hide – nothing at all.”
Questioned over the discrepancy between his comments about Christine Blasey Ford and Tara Reade, Biden said women should be believed. He added, “Women have a right to be heard. In any case, the truth matters and in this case the truth is the claims are false.”
He added, “I’m not going to question her motives. I don’t know why she is saying this. I don’t know why after 27 years this is being raised. I don’t understand it.”
Brzezinski rephrased her question about the difference between his remarks on Ford vs. Reade, and he answered, “The facts of this case do not exist. There are so many inconsistencies in this case. I assure you it did not happen. Period.” She should have reminded him that Reade’s account has been corroborated by five people while no one corroborated Ford’s story.
“Why is it real for Dr. Ford and not for Tara Reade?,” Brzezinski asked.
Biden replied, “I’m not saying she doesn’t have the right to come forward…But only the truth matters.”
She asked if he’d ever required a staffer to sign a non-disclosure agreement. “I never asked anybody to sign an NDA. There are no NDAs, period, in my case.”
Brzezinski asked Biden several times if he was confident that no record of a complaint exists. He answered, “I know of no one who was aware of any complaint was made.”
She also asked him multiple times why he doesn’t simply approve a search for any records with Tara Reade’s name on them in the University of Delaware Library. Biden was adamant that personnel records would not be found there. On one occasion, he told her, “I don’t understand the point you’re trying to make. There are no personnel records by definition.” He added that the records in the university library contain information about his personal, private conversations with world leaders and the President.
In the end, Biden did what he had to do which was to address the allegations and to strongly deny them and MSNBC fulfilled their journalistic obligation.