2020 Election

Dem Sen. Coons Claims Biden Has Been Exonerated on Sexual Assault Claim

Delaware senator and Joe Biden supporter Chris Coons (D.) said the former vice president has already been exonerated by the press's investigation into Tara Reade's accusation of sexual assault.

"[Biden] and his campaign urged that these allegations be fully investigated. They have been," Coons said Wednesday on MSNBC's Meet the Press Daily. "The New York Times, the Washington Post, the Associated Press have dedicated weeks of reporters' time to digging in, calling people, contacting people, researching. And they all three have concluded that there was no substance to these allegations."

The Times disagreed strongly with the Biden campaign's assessment that the paper's investigation refuted Reade's claim of assault.

"Our investigation made no conclusion either way," the newspaper said, saying the campaign has "inaccurately" described the investigation as an exoneration.

Coons pushed back against the idea that the situation is a "he said, she said" dispute, arguing it has "been thoroughly investigated by the independent media."

"I don't think it's just a ‘he said, she said,'" he said. "I think it's a ‘he said, she said, the press thoroughly investigated and found there's nothing there.'"

Since March 24, the day Reade came forward to make the accusation, Biden has not faced a direct question from the media about the alleged assault. He has done 19 interviews spanning nearly 4 hours in the 5 weeks in that timeframe.

The campaign has denied the allegation. Reade's former neighbor told Business Insider that Reade told her about the assault in the mid-1990s, and footage emerged of a woman who appeared to be Reade's mother calling Larry King Live on CNN to discuss an instance of harassment toward her daughter.

Coons also said Biden's good character and advocacy for women indicate the accusation is false.

"I know Joe. I know his life, his character, his record," he said. "As you know well … he's dedicated decades of his life and his career in public service to advocating for women, for women's causes, and in particular, for the Violence Against Women Act."