Chuck Schumer said on Tuesday that Joe Biden’s denial of sexual-assault allegations is “sufficient,” indicating that the Senate’s top Democrat plans to stick with the party’s expected standard-bearer in the November presidential election.
Schumer’s comments continue a pattern of top Democrats standing by the former vice president amid claims from a former Senate staffer, Tara Reade, who alleges that Biden sexually assaulted her in the early 1990s. Biden has repeatedly denied Reade’s claims, and his allies in Congress aren’t wavering in their support.
“Before the #MeToo movement, women were not listened to who were telling what had happened to them. Since #MeToo, women are listened to,” Schumer (D-N.Y.) said in response to a question about whether he believes Reade’s allegations.
“Now I’ve heard Joe Biden’s explanation. I think it’s sufficient,” Schumer continued. “I think he will be a great candidate. I think he will be a great president. And I think he will help us take back the Senate.”
Democrats up and down the ballot have argued that Biden has appropriately responded to the allegations, even as they say Reade has the right to be heard and that her claims should be taken seriously and vetted thoroughly. Democratic Senate candidates in particular have stood by the former vice president, including those in tough races.
Democrats’ defenses of Biden have prompted withering criticism from Republicans who note that top Democrats — including Schumer and a handful of female senators who are being considered as Biden’s running mate — held a different view when then-Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh was accused of sexual assault. Republicans have accused Democrats of a double standard and outright hypocrisy.
Reade has said Biden should face consequences over the alleged assault and bow out of the presidential race. President Donald Trump has also faced several allegations of sexual assault, all of which he has denied.