The TL;DR version of this is:
This is why you should probably have voted for a female nominee, and one of the many reasons I favoured Elizabeth Warren. In this context, she is probably as clean as a whistle. If you have to vote for either Biden or Trump, and even given that the allegation against Biden is true but that he remains in the race, Biden should still get your vote by a country mile on this issue.
This isn’t whataboutery (indeed, allegations against Biden could be seen as whataboutery in terms of Trump’s allegations). In a two-party political system with two presidential contenders, politics aside, it is a case of the lesser of two evils. Ideally, you would have neither candidate. But if Biden should have to drop out, Trump should be dropped from the stratosphere.
Now for some of the details.
Biden’s allegation needs to be taken on its own merits, of course. But in this two-horse race, you cannot ignore the torrid myriad allegations faced by the pussy-grabber-in-chief. I am no expert on the allegations against Biden, but I’ll sum them up next. If they are true, they should not be ignored merely on account of political bias. But the same goes for Trump, and, my, there is some outstanding business to clear up there. Remember, Trump settled out of court for the rape allegation his ex-wife made against him long before his presidency (Jill Harth also settled out of court in the 90s), and he has faced some two dozen allegations before the book, All the President’s Women: Donald Trump and the Making of a Predator, which, drawing on over 100 interviews, listed a further 43 instances of sexual misconduct, as well as detailing those two dozen previous accounts.
This is quite dark back catalogue. It has its own Wikipedia page…
I still cannot grasp the sheer volume of cognitive dissonance the evangelical higher moral ground voters for Trump had to exhibit. See Oh My God, Trump! (And How Evangelicals Square the Circle) and Trump and Evangelical Christianity and Appeasing the Evangelicals: Trump Is a “Baby Christian”.
Tara Reade and Biden
Here is what I can gather:
- Biden’s campaign has (obviously) refuted the allegations, but at least say they should be independently reviewed: “Such claims should also be diligently reviewed by an independent press. What is clear about this claim: It is untrue. This absolutely did not happen.”
- A year ago, Reade spoke to media about claims Biden had inappropriately touched her while she worked for him in the Senate, as part of a group of eight women who said Biden had a habit of inappropriate physical displays of affection. At the time, Reade didn’t mention the assault and Biden said he’d be “more mindful.” [source]
- The allegation is that in 1993, as a 29-year-old staffer in his Senate office, Biden pushed her against a wall, reached under her skirt and pushed his fingers inside her. She resisted, he became annoyed. When she pulled away, Reade says Biden looked surprised and said, “Come on, man, I heard you liked me.” She told supervisors (complained about harassment, not assault, though I’m not sure of the ramifications of this), was ostracised and then told to find another job.
- She claims she filed a report in the Senate and complained to supervisors and that she was retaliated against, but former Biden employees dispute this.
- …media investigations haven’t confirmed its existence. Reade believes it may be within the collection of records from Biden’s Senate days that are housed at the University of Delaware, closed for viewing until two years after he retires from public life. She has called on the former vice president to allow access to the records. [source]
- Reade has now filed a police report and is willing to go under oath.
- She has corroborators: Lynda LaCasse, her neighbour in the 90s, a Democrat. Lorraine Sanchez, coworker from 90s, working for Sen. Jack O’Connell. Collin Moulton, her brother. Jeanette Altimus, Reade’s mother, who died in 2016, ho contacted Larry King Live in 1993 to anonymously to talk about the issue. Other unnamed friends are also seen as corroborators.
- Moulton originally told the Washington Post that Biden had touched his sister’s neck and shoulders (unfortunately, something he is also known for), but then contacted them again a few days later to change his story.
- This allegation has been made now and not when Biden was VP due to Reade then having a teenaged daughter whom she didn’t want adversely affected.
Tara Reade and others have claimed that the media are not treating this in the same way as they would if it had been, say, Trump. Quite possibly, though you could say that about Trump very easily. Just look at his list of allegations. That should have sunk him. But because FOX steered away, and because we moved onto other things, he was let off the hook. Perhaps it was ironically the claims against Trump that normalised such events and desensitized the public to sexual abuse claims against politicians.
Personally, for what it’s worth (not a lot), I have no reason to disbelieve these claims. They are a lot less than the claims against Trump, but this is of little comfort to Reade herself, and this should not have any bearing on the claims in and of themselves. I say this only in the context of both men running for POTUS.
Both men should drop out, and we should all vote for Elizabeth Warren, or someone with a better record. A better record across a whole range of things.
I’m not sure of the support he has been receiving by Democratic women – perhaps it is needs must:
Sens. Kamala Harris and Amy Klobuchar — both potential vice presidential selections — have praised Biden when asked about Reade’s allegations in recent interviews. So has Stacey Abrams, another vice presidential contender. Referring to The New York Times’ review of Reade’s accusations, she told The Daily Beast that “nothing in the Times review suggests anything other than what I already knew: That Joe Biden is a man of highest integrity who will make all women proud as our next president.”
On Tuesday, the day Clinton endorsed Biden, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, one of the most outspoken advocates of the #MeToo movement, was asked whether Democrats were contradicting themselves with their handling of Reade’s accusations and those against now-Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
“No, and I stand by Vice President Biden,” Gillibrand said on a conference call. “He’s devoted his life to supporting women, and he has vehemently denied this allegation.”
I wonder if Democrats will utilise a whataboutery approach. That said, as I have mentioned, there is a justifiable rationale to this in a two-horse race held in moral parallel.
Perhaps this will be buried in coronavirus news. But it shouldn’t be. It should be dealt with robustly, fairly and independently. If Biden will have to step aside as a result of this, which should happen if the allegations ring true, then Trump should be jettisoned to the moon.
[If my claims are wrong, please let me know below as I have just gleaned the above from various news sources.]
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