2020 Election

Joe Biden (Still) Hasn’t Faced A Single Question on Sexual Assault Allegations

5 weeks, 19 interviews, and 142 questions with no mention of sexual assault claim

Presidential Candidate Joe Biden Holds Virtual Town Hall To Hear Coronavirus Concerns
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Joe Biden has now done 19 interviews spanning nearly 4 hours in the 5 weeks since March 24, the day a former staffer in his U.S. Senate office came forward to accuse him of sexual assault. None of the 142 questions asked by his interviewers have been on the allegations.

Biden, from a studio in the basement of his Delaware home, has been interviewed by reporters from major networks including CNN and MSNBC, as well as local stations across the country since Tara Reade's allegation was reported by the Intercept in March. Biden has still not publicly commented on the accusation from Reade, who says the then-senator pinned her against a wall and penetrated her with his fingers in 1993 when she was a staff assistant in his office.

In the past two weeks alone, Biden has sat for at least an additional 97 minutes and 16 seconds of taped interviews, according to a Free Beacon analysis. The sexual assault allegation never came up. MSNBC's Mika Brzezinski asked Biden what he thought about President Donald Trump's daily briefings. CBS comedian James Corden asked him to play "show and tell" with something from his Delaware home. CBS4's Jim DeFede asked if the coronavirus made the case for a $15 minimum wage. KDKA's Jon DeLano asked what he thought of when he thinks of Pittsburgh and whether he'd like Michelle Obama as his running mate.

The Biden campaign did not respond to an emailed interview request.

Though Biden continues to decline interviews on the topic, media interest in the allegation has picked up significantly—though CNN has not asked about Reade during its interviews with Biden, the network now has two stories about her allegation on its website. The uptick in interest comes as new information has emerged that appears to corroborate Reade's allegation. Late last week footage was unearthed of her mother calling into CNN's Larry King Live and alluding to the incident, and Reade's former neighbor told Business Insider that the aide confided in her about Biden's assault in the mid 1990s. 

Biden’s campaign has also stepped up its defense against the allegation. The campaign privately circulated talking points to supporters instructing them to use an investigation by the New York Times as evidence that the incident "did not happen." The talking points were met with immediate backlash, with the New York Times telling the Washington Free Beacon that the Biden campaign is "inaccurately" representing its findings and that it was not able to refute Reade’s claim.

Several of the local news segments only posted edited portions of longer interviews. Pittsburgh Action News 4 and Local 4 Detroit, two of Biden's recent interviews, largely edited out the questions asked by Biden’s respective interviewers, but the segments they aired included 10 different answers from the former vice president on topics unrelated to the allegations.

While reporters have avoided the topic with Biden, they have pressed some of his potential running mates. In an interview Tuesday with CNN, Stacey Abrams cited the New York Times investigation published April 12 as proof the assault "did not happen," mirroring the talking points sent by Biden’s campaign. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D., Minn.) told MSNBC on April 16 that Biden was a leader on women’s issues and the Times had done a "very thorough" vetting of Reade's claim.

Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer (D.) and Sen. Kamala Harris (D., Calif.) have also remained supportive of Biden when asked about the allegation. Harris said that she believes Reade has the right to tell her story, but went on to praise Biden as an advocate for women.