Cover: Former Vice President of the United States Joe Biden
Any Port in a Storm: After facing significant pressure from members of both the left and the right, former Vice President Joe Biden broke his silence regarding allegations of sexual assault levied against him by his former Senate staffer, Tara Reade. On Friday morning, the Democratic presidential candidate issued a complete denial of the allegations, affirming, “I am saying unequivocally, it never, never happened.”
On the Left: For the most part, liberals and Democrats have carefully maintained their support of Biden. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, and former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams are part of a vocal chorus of Democratic women standing behind Biden. However, MSNBC host Mika Brzezinski, a vocal critic of President Trump, cast aside partisan loyalty when interviewing Biden on her show, “Morning Joe”. The journalist is being praised by many for her unyielding questioning despite her own political leanings. Brzezinski consistently pressed Biden to answer for the apparent double-standard of believing the accusations made by Dr. Christine Blasey-Ford against Justice Brett Kavanaugh, but denying those made against him by Reade. She also pushed Biden on whether he would agree to an investigation of his Senate records housed at the University of Delaware that may contain a complaint Reade claims she filed in 1993. Biden insisted such records concerning personnel could only be found in the National Archives and not at the University of Delaware.
On the Right: Conservatives have taken the opportunity to point out the “major hypocrisy” of Democrats with Biden’s and Kavanaugh’s accusers. Fox News’ Dana Perino challenged, “if you compare these allegations to what Brett Kavanaugh was alleged to have done and how the Democrats thought that [Kavanaugh’s] yearbook was important to decide if he was a rapist versus actual official documents from the United States Senate, that shows a lot of hypocrisy.” Perino was referring to Biden’s refusal to unseal documents kept at the University of Delaware. Biden claimed that these files contain public records, speeches, and position papers from his time in the Senate, and they would not contain personal complaints relating to personnel. Nevertheless, critics are demanding the material be searched for any reference to Tara Reade and her accusation in order to establish the veracity of these claims. Perino maintains that an unwillingness to unseal these files is indicative of Biden’s and Democrats’ hypocrisy. Some conservative voices have also referenced the suspect nature of Biden not directly answering whether he personally remembered Reade, evidently dodging the question.
Flag This: As the 2020 election inches closer, Reade’s allegations present an interesting conundrum for both political parties. If Democrats want to uphold their image as the party that advocates for survivors of sexual assult, then they may need to call for a Kavanaugh-style Congressional interrogation of Biden. One would assume that the potential President of the United States should face the same grueling public investigation that the Supreme Court justice endured. At the same time, Republicans need to be weary of turning into the party that is the kettle calling the pot black. President Trump has been accused by dozens of women of sexual misconduct and, just like Biden, has denied the allegations. As they say, any port in a storm.