The New York Times called out the Biden campaign for pushing talking points that “inaccurately” claimed the newspaper had cleared former Vice President Joe Biden of alleged sexual assault and debunked the allegation made by a former Senate staffer.
The newspaper issued a statement on Wednesday saying that an investigation into the allegation did not resolve the issue one way or the other, as reported by The Washington Examiner. The Times was forced to clarify its reporting after the Biden campaign began pushing talking points that claimed the newspaper had found that the alleged assault “did not happen.”
“BuzzFeed reported on the existence of talking points being circulated by the Biden campaign that inaccurately suggest a New York Times investigation found that Tara Reade’s allegation ‘did not happen,’” said Danielle Rhoades Ha, vice president of communications for The New York Times. “Our investigation made no conclusion either way. As BuzzFeed correctly reported, our story found three former Senate aides whom Reade said she complained to contemporaneously, all of whom either did not remember the incident or said that it did not happen.”
“The story also included former interns who remembered Reade suddenly changing roles and no longer overseeing them, which took place during the same time period that Reade said she was abruptly reassigned,” Rhoades Ha continued. “The Times also spoke to a friend who said Reade told her the details of the allegation at the time; another friend and Reade’s brother say she told them of a traumatic sexual incident involving Biden.”
The Biden campaign began pushing a talking point that the Times had cleared the presumptive Democratic nominee of assaulting Tara Reade, a former Capitol Hill staffer who worked for then-Sen. Joe Biden in the 1990s. The Times spent over two weeks investigating the allegation and concluded it “did not happen,” the campaign memo said according to BuzzFeed News.
“Biden believes that all women have the right to be heard and to have their claims thoroughly reviewed,” the talking points said. “In this case, a thorough review by the New York Times has led to the truth: this incident did not happen.”
“Here’s the bottom line,” the memo continued. “Vice President Joe Biden has spent over 40 years in public life: 36 years in the Senate; 7 Senate campaigns, 2 previous presidential runs, two vice presidential campaigns, and 8 years in the White House. There has never been a complaint, allegation, hint or rumor of any impropriety or inappropriate conduct like this regarding him — ever.”
Reade’s accusation against Biden has gained national attention since Reade spoke of the allegation, which had been public for years, on a podcast with journalist Katie Harper in March. Reade said that Biden assaulted her while she was working for him in 1993. The Biden campaign has denied the allegation.
“We were alone, and it was the strangest thing. There was no, like, exchange really, he just had me up against the wall,” Reade said on the podcast.
“His hands were on me, and underneath my clothes,” Reade said. “He went down my skirt, but then up inside. He penetrated me with his fingers.”
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