Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, who once described the allegations against then-Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh as “extremely credible,” on Tuesday called presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s denial of allegations against him “sufficient.”
“Before the #MeToo movement, women were not listened to [by] who they were telling what had happened to them. Since #MeToo, women are listened to,” Schumer said Tuesday when asked about whether he believes Biden accuser Tara Reade.
“Now I’ve heard Joe Biden’s explanation. I think it’s sufficient,” Schumer said. “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.”
Reade alleges that Biden sexually assaulted her while she was an aide in his Senate office in 1993. She initially came forward to accuse Biden of inappropriate touching last year, as did several other women. But she told a different version of her story to podcast host Katie Halper earlier this year, which raised the level of the allegation to sexual assault.
Biden, his campaign, and former aides from the time have all denied seeing or hearing about the event Reade describes, and say it is not something that could have happened in Biden’s Senate office at the time. Meanwhile, a handful of Reade’s associates have come forward to say they remember her telling them about the alleged assault well before Reade came forward publicly against Biden.
Republicans have noted the stark contrast between the way Democrats have handled the allegations against Biden, in which they have largely accepted his denial at face value, and those against Kavanaugh — where they downplayed the nominee’s denial and asserted that women’s claims should be believed.
Schumer was one of a number of Democrats who called for Kavanaugh to withdraw over allegations made by Christine Blasey Ford about an alleged assault at a high school party, or for him to submit to a lengthy new investigation by the FBI. There eventually was an FBI investigation, but Democrats complained that it wasn’t detailed enough and all but one Democrat would vote against Kavanaugh’s confirmation.
On an appearance on “The View” in September 2018, he called Blasey Ford’s claims “extremely credible.”
“I think the allegations of Professor Ford are extremely credible,” he said. “She took a lie detector test. She talked [about] this to her therapist. They were having family counseling in part because of what happened to her five years ago and told all the details. And third, to come out and say something like this puts you and your family through incredible scrutiny. People throw brick bats at you and everything else.
“She didn’t do it on a whim. I don’t think she did it for political reasons. She has a great deal of credibility,” he said.
He also reiterated his calls for a full FBI investigation into the accusation.
“They should go interview Professor Ford. They should interview Judge Kavanaugh. They should ask a whole lot of questions. They should interview anybody else, that third person who was in the room, anyone else who was at the party, anyone else she may have said this to in addition to her therapist,” he said, laying out the lengthy process. “They will give a report to the Senate and then Judge Kavanaugh and Professor Ford ought to come publicly and they ought to be asked a lot of questions. And then I think, in my view, the public will see that these allegations are true.”
Schumer has so far not backed a similar investigation into the claims made against Biden, nor has he called on Biden to allow the release of Senate records in the University of Delaware — something Republicans have called on the former vice president to do. Biden says the records stored there would not relate to personnel records anyway, and has sought them from the Senate instead, to no avail.
Schumer isn’t the only Democrat to be taking a significantly different stance on the Biden allegations than on those made against Kavanaugh.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., who took a similarly aggressive stance on Kavanaugh, reportedly questioned Reade’s allegations last week, calling it “absolutely ridiculous” to go after Biden like this while asking “where has she been all these years?”
Fox News’ Tyler Olson contributed to this report.