Pelosi Endorses Biden for President, Despite New Developments in Sexual Assault Claim
Democratic House speaker ignores allegations of sexual assault from ex-staffer Tara Reade
Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) announced early Monday morning she is endorsing Joe Biden as the Democrats' nominee for president.
Speaker Pelosi is the latest high-profile Democrat to publicly back the party's presumptive nominee amid claims he sexually assaulted Reade when she worked for the then-Delaware senator in 1993.
Biden's campaign has denied the claim but Biden has so far refused to address the accusation personally.
"I'm proud to endorse Joe Biden for president of the United States because he will be an extraordinary president," Pelosi declared in a video statement.
"He knows how to get the job done."
Pelosi touted Biden's work in various policy areas, his relationship with former President Barack Obama and his behind-the-scenes personality and demeanor.
"Joe Biden brings values and integrity to work every day because he never forgets his roots," Pelosi said.
"Now more than ever we need a forward-looking, battle-tested leader who will fight for the people."
.@JoeBiden has fought for our health care, for our families & for our children’s future.— Nancy Pelosi (@TeamPelosi) April 27, 2020
To his work, Joe brings values & integrity. He is a voice of reason & resilience who will fight #ForThePeople. Today, I am proud to endorse him for President of the United States. -NP pic.twitter.com/Qdc9vTgWHP
The Washington Post first reported the endorsement, linking to the video from Biden's Youtube channel.
Pelosi did not mention the sexual assault allegation against Biden in her endorsement video.
She was on CNN with anchor Jake Tapper Sunday and was not asked about the allegations.
Asked for comment by Fox News, Pelosi's office referred to an April 17 interview with MSNBC in which she was asked if she's satisfied with Biden's denial.
"Yes, I am. I am very much involved in this issue," she said.
"I always want to give the opportunity that women deserve to be heard. I am satisfied with his answer, yes."
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has not commented on the allegation against Biden, and neither have most of the women considered to be on Biden's shortlist for vice presidential picks or the Democratic National Committee.
#BREAKING: HERE is the video from August 11,1993's 'Larry King Live' described by @TheIntercept (and Tara Reade) as allegedly featuring her mother calling in and alluding to Reade's sexual assault claims against @JoeBiden (blog here by @ScottJW) https://t.co/fCgEqBnX7n pic.twitter.com/V5FGHskv56— Curtis Houck (@CurtisHouck) April 24, 2020
High-profile Democrats who have commented on the matter have largely tiptoed around the allegation, which was bolstered Friday when video resurfaced of a caller into CNN's "Larry King Live" in 1993 in which the alleged victim claims her mother was discussing -- without naming Biden or using the words "sexual assault" -- the sexual assault Biden allegedly committed against her daughter.
"Governor Whitmer believes that it is important that these allegations are vetted, from the media to beyond and that it is something that no one takes lightly," a spokesperson for Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer told Fox News on Saturday.
"But it is also something that is personal. We will not speculate or provide greater insight, without knowing more about the situation."
"[I]n this case -- and your listeners should look at the story -- there was a thorough review by The New York Times," Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) said in an appearance on NPR.
"And I think that's very important to have, especially involving public figures."
"But I think when I look at -- when I see Vice President Biden, someone I worked with, I see him on -- a leader on domestic abuse -- led the bill before people were even willing to talk about those horrific crimes and has really been a champion of abuses of power against women and has used his voice on the domestic abuse front in such a big way."
Both Whitmer and Klobuchar are considered potential vice presidential picks for Biden.
Fox News over the weekend reached out to Whitmer, Klobuchar, and 14 other women who have been rumored to be on the shortlist for Biden's vice presidential pick to ask for comment on the new developments in the story.
Whitmer's office was the only one to respond.
The allegations against Biden are leveled by Tara Reade, who said she was a staff assistant for Biden in 1993 when he was in the Senate.
Reade, who has openly advocated for Biden primary rival Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) has come forward before — last year, when multiple women emerged claiming inappropriate touching by Biden.
But late last month she told a far more graphic version of events to The Intercept and later to podcast host Katie Halper that raised the level of the allegations against Biden to sexual assault.
As the story has developed it has been contemporaneously corroborated by two of Reade's friends to the New York Times, then further corroborated by an Aug. 11, 1993 clip from "Larry King Live" in which a woman Reade claims is her mother calls in to the show and alludes to her daughter’s experience on Capitol Hill with a "prominent senator."
"Yes, hello. I’m wondering what a staffer would do besides go to the press in Washington?" the caller says.
"My daughter has just left there, after working for a prominent senator, and could not get through with her problems at all, and the only thing she could have done was go to the press, and she chose not to do it out of respect for him."
"In other words, she had a story to tell but, out of respect for the person she worked for, she didn’t tell it?" King inquires.
"That’s true," the woman responds before King cuts away to a panel to discuss her claim.
Following pressure for a response to the new information, the Biden campaign referred to a statement from earlier this month from Biden Deputy Campaign Manager Kate Bedingfield that said: “What is clear about this claim: it is untrue. This absolutely did not happen."
"Vice President Biden has dedicated his public life to changing the culture and the laws around violence against women," Bedingfield said.
"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.
"Such claims should also be diligently reviewed by an independent press."