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“I stand by [former] Vice President Biden,” the New York Democrat said during a conference call with reporters, according to The National Review. “He’s devoted his life to supporting women and he has vehemently denied this allegation.”
Gillibrand has previously taken tough stands in favor of women when sexual misconduct allegations have emerged against public figures.
In 2018, Gillibrand was a staunch defender of Christine Blasey Ford, a professor who accused then-Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of attempted rape as a teenager in the midst of his 2018 confirmation hearings. Gillibrand said the proceedings would be a “sham” if Blasey Ford’s allegations weren’t investigated by the FBI.
The U.S. Senate ultimately confirmed Kavanaugh’s nomination and he joined the Supreme Court in October 2018.
In 2017, Gillibrand helped pressure then-Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., into his eventual January 2018 resignation over sexual misconduct allegations.
Gillibrand has also defended former advice columnist E. Jean Carroll, who alleged last year that President Trump raped her in a department store in the 1990s.
Biden is facing allegations made by Tara Reade, a former aide to the then-U.S. senator from Delaware, who claims Biden assaulted her in March 1993 somewhere near the U.S. Capitol building.
Gillibrand told reporters, “So when we say believe women, it’s for this explicit intention of making sure there’s space for all women to come forward to speak their truth, to be heard.”
She noted that several news outlets have investigated the claim against Biden, according to The Hill.
A former neighbor of Reade’s said she remembered Reade telling her about parts of the allegation, according to The National Review, and Reade told Fox News a resurfaced “Larry King Live” video involving a woman talking about her daughter who had “problems” while working for a “prominent senator” was her now-deased mother, referring to the allegation.
The woman doesn’t specifically corroborate Reade’s allegations of assault in the video and could be referring more to bullying allegations she raised last year. In a 2019 interview, Reade called out Biden’s former staffers for “bullying her,” The Washington Post reported.
This isn’t the first time Reade has made an allegation against Biden.
Last year, when multiple women said Biden had touched them in ways that made them feel uncomfortable, Reade claimed Biden had put his hands on her shoulders and rubbed his fingers up and down her neck.
Last month, she told a far more graphic story. She claimed she met him somewhere near the Capitol and he suddenly pushed her against a wall.
“His hands were on me and underneath my clothes, and he went down my skirt and then up inside it and he penetrated me with his fingers and he was kissing me at the same time and he was saying some things to me,” she said.
Biden’s campaign has vehemently denied the accusations, which others have also called into question because Reade said she doesn’t remember where the assault happened and some details in her story have changed over time.
Reade said she complained to three of Biden’s then top aides. All three aides deny that, according to The New York Times.
Marianne Baker, a former executive assistant to then-Sen. Biden – one of the three aides Reade said she told about the accusation — called the account “clearly false” in a statement last month.
“For nearly 20 years, I worked as Senator Biden’s executive assistant and supervised dozens of employees who reported to me. I took very seriously my duties with respect to human resources, following the direction of a senator whose insistence on a professional workplace was embedded in our culture,” Baker, who worked for Biden from 1982 to 2000, said.
“In all my years working for Senator Biden, I never once witnessed, or heard of, or received, any reports of inappropriate conduct, period — not from Ms. Reade, not from anyone,” she continued. “I have absolutely no knowledge or memory of Ms. Reade’s accounting of events, which would have left a searing impression on me as a woman professional, and as a manager.”
Former Georgia state Rep. Stacey Abrams also defended Biden on Tuesday, saying the claim has been extensively investigated and he will “make women proud.”
More than 20 women have accused President Trump of sexual misconduct. Trump has denied all of the accusations.