Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez believes “something happened” between former Vice President Joe Biden and a former staffer accusing him of sexual assault some 27 years ago – although the allegations are not “clear-cut,” she said.
Ocasio-Cortez, speaking to National Public Radio Thursday, warned against rushing to judgment and urged due process regarding Tara Reade’s claim that the Democratic presidential hopeful sexually harassed her while working as an aide for Biden in 1993.
“There have been investigative journalists that have corroborated certain aspects of her account – that is undeniable – [and] have raised questions about other aspects of her account,” Ocasio-Cortez said.
But the freshman, progressive lawmaker also acknowledged that it appears “something” happened between Biden and Reade, who has claimed he pinned her against a wall and reached under her skirt before assaulting her. Biden has reportedly “unequivocally” denied the allegations.
“It certainly seems as though something has happened,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “I’m not sure. Frankly, this is a messy moment, and I think we need to acknowledge that – that it is not clear-cut.”
Ocasio-Cortez, 30, said it appears Reade – who told her ex-husband about the allegations, according to a 1996 court document obtained Thursday – wants to get her story out.
“If anything, it sounds like she simply wants to be heard,” she said. “It seems as though she does not feel she’s been heard yet.”
In her most detailed account of the accusations, Reade told Megyn Kelly Thursday that she remembers Biden saying “I want to f–k you” as he pinned her up against a wall when she was a junior staffer in his Senate office.
A friend of Reade’s, meanwhile, also told NPR that she told her of the same alleged assault at the time. Her brother also said Reader shared some of her account with him, NPR reports.
Despite the accusations, Ocasio-Cortez said she still plans to vote for Biden, while stopping short of endorsing him Thursday.
“I think an endorsement means we have come to a place where we have developed a vision together not just for winning [in November], but for getting our country to a better place,” she told NPR.
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