Things That Matter

AOC Gets Real About Biden’s Sexual Assault Allegations, Becomes First Member Of Congress To Even Bring It Up

With the Democratic primary season all but officially over, Vice President Joe Biden is now the presumptive nominee. He’s got the endorsements of his primary competitor, Bernie Sanders, and his former boss, President Obama.

Although Rep. Ocasio-Cortez hasn’t explicitly endorsed the former VP (she was a surrogate campaigner for Sanders), she’s come out in support of his candidacy since Sanders dropped out of the race. However, despite her strong support for his campaign, AOC admits there are still stones left unturned regarding Biden’s sexual assault allegations.

In an interview, AOC says it’s absolutely ‘legitimate to talk about’ the allegations against Joe Biden.

Credit: Paul Sancya / Getty

The congresswoman was asked about the allegation against the former vice president during an online forum hosted by The Wing, a women’s network and community space, by a questioner who said she was strongly opposed to President Trump’s reelection but that she also “really resent[s] the fact that the other choice is someone who has a really long history of being creepy to women,” citing the allegation by former staffer Tara Reade.

“I think it’s legitimate to talk about these things,” AOC responded, according to CBS News. “And if we want, if we again want to have integrity, you can’t say, you know — both believe women, support all of this, until it inconveniences you, until it inconveniences us.”

“I think a lot of us are just in this moment where it’s like, how did we get here? You know, it almost felt like we started this cycle where we had kind of moved on from, you know, from all of this. And now it feels like we’re kind of back in it,” she added. “You know, the most diverse field that we’ve ever seen — that we’re kind of back kind of replaying old movies in a way.”

Reade herself responded to AOC’s insights, saying she was proud to have the congresswoman weigh in — for the first time — on her allegations in a public way.

In the summer of 2019, Ms. Reade was one of several women to accuse Biden of a history of inappropriate touching and invasion of personal space. At the time, he said that while he apologized if he made anyone feel uncomfortable, he was not sorry for any of his intentions.

It was in the midst of the primary contest this spring that Reade made a more serious and more specific allegation against Biden, accusing him of pinning her against a wall and seriously assaulting her in the spring of 1993.

The Biden campaign has vehemently denied the allegation – although Biden hasn’t spoken about this particular one in public at all.

Credit: @JoeBiden / Twitter

His campaign told the New York Times, “It is untrue. This absolutely did not happen.” They also cited Biden’s role as an author of the Violence Against Women Act in response to the accusation.

“Vice President Biden has dedicated his public life to changing the culture and the laws around violence against women,” Kate Bedingfield, a deputy Biden campaign manager, said in a statement to the Times.

“He authored and fought for the passage and reauthorization of the landmark Violence Against Women Act. He firmly believes that women have a right to be heard — and heard respectfully.”

AOC also said it’s not fair to prioritize beating Trump in November over hearing the stories of survivors.

Credit: @CharlotteAlter / Twitter

“A lot of us are survivors, and it’s really, really hard and uncomfortable,” Ocasio-Cortez said, adding that choosing not to talk about the allegations is the “exact opposite of integrity.”

It’s “not okay” to prioritize beating Trump over discussing ugly and sensitive accusations against the other candidate, she said, because those issues are “very legitimate things.”

Despite the call for transparency, AOC committed to supporting Biden in his campaign against Trump.

Credit: Scott Heins / Getty

Speaking during a Wednesday morning appearance on “The View,” she said she was “absolutely” supporting presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, arguing that “the stakes are too high when it comes to another four years of Trump.”

My community especially has been so impacted by the Trump administration,” AOC said of her feelings on the general election choices.

“For a lot of communities, this is an issue of life or death. We’ve had kids in cages, we’ve had a pandemic response that happened way too late, that has cost us lives, we have people that don’t have access to critical care that they need. I think it’s really important that we rally behind our Democratic nominee in November,” she continued.

AOC, who endorsed Sanders last fall, went on to speak out against voters going with a third-party candidate if Biden isn’t their ideal pick.

“I think it’s important to communicate some empathy. I know for a lot of people this was not the outcome that they may have wanted, and this was not the choice that they wanted to make. But ultimately, when it comes to those two, I don’t think it’s particularly close in terms of what communities will be made more vulnerable,” she continued.

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