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Women’s Groups Drafted Letter Pushing Biden To Address Sexual Assault Allegations. Then The Campaign Heard About It.
Democratic presidential hopeful former US vice president Joe Biden is seen on stage as he and Senator Bernie Sanders take part in the 11th Democratic Party 2020 presidential debate in a CNN Washington Bureau studio in Washington, DC on March 15, 2020.
MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images

Top women’s groups who claim to support those who make allegations of sexual assault have shown that they only care about accusers who make claims against Republicans and anyone else who’s not a Democrat.

On March 25, Tara Reade claimed that Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden groped her and sexually assaulted her when she worked for him while he was still a senator in 1993. Media outlets took weeks to finally report on the accusations, and even then the coverage paled in comparison to how the media covered dubious allegations against Brett Kavanaugh as a Supreme Court nominee.

The New York Times reported on Wednesday that several prominent women’s groups drafted a letter that would praise Biden as an “outspoken champion for survivors of sexual violence” but also push him to address the allegations from Reade.

“Vice President Biden has the opportunity, right now, to model how to take serious allegations seriously,” the draft letter said, according to the Times. “The weight of our expectations matches the magnitude of the office he seeks.”

Biden’s campaign heard about the draft letter and apparently contacted the groups, who agreed to hold off on the letter if the candidate made a statement about the allegations before April ended. April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. That was two weeks ago, and the Biden campaign didn’t release a statement until May 1, yet the women’s groups never released their letter.

Biden’s statement on the allegations state: “They aren’t true. This never happened.” He then changes the rules for the “believe all women” mantra to state that “women deserve to be treated with dignity and respect, and when they step forward they should be heard, not silenced,” but “that their stories should be subject to appropriate inquiry and scrutiny.”

This is not the policy Biden has called for in the past. It is only now that he has been accused that he and his supporters suggest due process is important. But Biden’s signature accomplishments – the Violence Against Women Act and the anti-due process Title IX policies on college campuses – erode a central tenant of our justice system. Those policies, and Biden’s statements until recently, were all aimed at insisting women never lie about sexual assault and therefore their word is as much evidence as needed.

Biden’s supporters, especially Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) have called efforts to inject due process into the campus Title IX adjudication process an assault on “survivor’s rights.”

The Daily Beast previously reached out to 10 prominent women’s organizations for comment about the allegations against Biden, including Emily’s List, Planned Parenthood Action Fund, NARAL Pro-Choice America, and the National Organization for Women (NOW).

“Most organizations did not respond to a detailed request for comment about the allegation by Tara Reade, a former staff assistant in Biden’s Senate office who has accused the former vice president of forcibly penetrating her with his fingers in the early 1990s. Others replied and did not provide a statement,” the Beast reported. “One prominent women’s political group cited a scheduling conflict and asked to be kept ‘in mind for other opportunities!’ When pressed if the following day would work better, an associate said it would not, citing another scheduling conflict.”

Emily’s List released numerous press releases after Kavanaugh was accused, calling him “an alleged sexual assailant” in a September 16, 2019 statement regarding new, dubious allegations against Kavanaugh printed by The New York Times. The new “allegations” involved someone who wouldn’t discuss his claims publicly, and the friends of the alleged victim said she didn’t remember the incident. Such information meant nothing to Emily’s List, who called Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s claims against Kavanaugh “credible,” even though they lacked even basic details and proof (to date, there is no evidence Ford and Kavanaugh were ever even in the same room).

“The Trump Administration and the Republican-controlled Senate have yet again dismissed women’s voices, abandoning their due diligence in investigating these credible claims,” Emily’s List wrote at the time.

The organization has issued no press release

Prominent feminists Gloria Steinem and Patricia Ireland, who served as the president of NOW during the Clinton administration, didn’t respond to Beast inquiries about the accusations against Biden, even though both women said in 2017 that they wished they had done more to hold Bill Clinton accountable while he was president.

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