Democratic Senate Candidates Move Goalposts On Sexual Assault
It was only a year and a half ago that last-minute sexual assault allegations upended the confirmation process for now-Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. Desperate to block President Donald Trump’s second pick for the nation’s highest court, Democrats flocked to give unsubstantiated claims of a 30-year-old rape allegation their unwavering support in an attempted character assassination that threatened to bring about an end to the standard of presumptive innocence.
Democrats and women’s groups working with a complicit media teamed up together to sink Kavanaugh’s nomination in a movement to “believe all women,” the now-standard mantra of the left-wing approach to handling accusations sexual misconduct no matter the evidence.
In Kavanaugh’s case, the judge’s primary accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, was unable to prove that the two had ever even met let alone provide a single corroborating witness to support her claims. But because she was a woman challenging a conservative on the cusp of clinching the power on the nation’s high bench, she must have been believed. The Democrats made the rules.
Fast-forward to six months before the next presidential election, Democrats are now reaping the consequences of the culture they created, a culture that Kavanaugh had warned about. This time, one of their own who sits on the perch of presidential power having secured the Democratic nomination faces decades-old sexual assault allegations from a former staffer whose claims up to this point, have been far more credible than anything ever launched at Kavanaugh in 2018.
Tara Reade, a former Senate staffer for then-Delaware Sen. Joe Biden accused the now-presumptive Democratic presidential nominee of forcibly kissing her and penetrating her with his fingers in a congressional hallway in 1993. The fact alone that Reade worked for Biden, which nobody disputes, already provides more evidence to support Reade’s claims than those of Ford’s against Kavanaugh. Reade also has several witnesses who have gone on record to support Reade’s accounting of events including three close friends, her brother, and a 1993 tape of CNN’s “Larry King Live” that shows Reade’s mother calling into the program to describe the alleged incident. Court documents from a 1996 restraining order case with her then-ex husband further corroborate Reade’s timeline that she spoke of the alleged incident in the ’90s.
While there are still important reasons to believe in Biden’s innocence, including the public absence of a complaint Reade says she filed in the senator’s office shortly after and the denial from several former staffers that such paperwork exists, Reade’s story still stands up to far more scrutiny than was given to Ford’s who was taken at her word despite major holes in her story that have yet to be filled to this day.
It appears now however, that the culture of blindly believing women has come back to haunt Democrats trying to move back to goalposts in order to protect their ambitions of reclaiming the Senate and the White House. Here’s where some Democratic Senate candidates are now saying of Reade’s accusations ahead of competitive contests in November:
Doug Jones, Alabama
Incumbent Democratic Sen. Doug Jones criticized the lack of an investigation into Kavanaugh’s alleged past conduct, despite wall-to-wall media coverage, teams of reporters flying across the country pouring over every possible ounce of evidence, and an FBI probe into Ford’s allegations as reason why he voted down Kavanaugh’s appointment.
“It wasn’t just about who you believed, it was about the whole nature of the Kavanaugh hearings, the lack of investigation,” Jones told Politico last week.
In 2018, Jones deemed Ford’s accusations credible.
“The Kavanaugh nomination process has been flawed from the beginning and incomplete at the end. Dr. Ford was credible and courageous and I am concerned about the message our vote will be sending to our sons and daughters, as well as victims of sexual assault.”
On Reade however, Jones called the allegations “totally inconsistent” with Biden’s character and charged Reade with lacking adequate credibility.
“The more that comes out, the more and more it, to me, does not have the indicia of credibility that I would be looking to at all,” Jones told the Huffington Post.
Gary Peters, Michigan
Incumbent Michigan Democratic Sen. Gary Peters formally endorsed Biden last week while ignoring the allegations against the former vice president from Reade.
Meanwhile in 2018, Peters voted against Kavanaugh’s confirmation citing Ford’s courage to come forward.
“Like many Americans, I followed closely the testimonies of Dr. Ford and Judge Kavanaugh before the Senate Judiciary Committee. As I watched Dr. Ford, I didn’t see a partisan ideologue motivated by politics. What I saw was a woman speaking with credibility, earnestness and bravery,” Peters said.
Sara Gideon, Maine
Maine’s Democratic Speaker of the House Sara Gideon spent months hammering incumbent Republican Sen. Susan Collins for delivering a floor speech defending the rule of law to explain her support for Judge Kavanaugh.
Gideon’s opposition literature repeatedly tied Collins to Kavanaugh and accused Collin’s defense of due process of feeling “like a betrayal” to survivors of sexual assault.
On the anniversary of the Kavanaugh hearings last fall, Gideon post a picture reaffirming her support for Ford.
— Sara Gideon (@SaraGideon) September 27, 2019
When it comes to Biden however, Gideon remained silent for weeks after Reade came forward.
Just this month, Gideon finally broke her silence to offer support for Biden despite far more substantive charges lodged against him.
“Sexual assault and sexual harassment are incredibly serious issues and for too long, people have been too afraid to come forward. Every person should be able to come forward and tell their story, and have it thoroughly looked into,” Gideon told Politico in a statement. “I voted for Joe Biden in the primary because I thought he could bring this country together and meet the challenges we face. I still believe that to be true.”
Mark Kelly, Arizona
Former NASA astronaut seeking to unseat incumbent Republican Sen. Martha McSally said Reade’s allegations ought to be looked into, but at this point, Biden still had his full support, according to Politico.
Cal Cunningham, North Carolina
Speaking through a spokeswoman, former North Carolina State Sen. Cal Cunningham challenging incumbent Republican Sen. Thom Tillis told Politico he believes women deserve to be heard and taken seriously, and said the level of attention given to Reade has been adequate.
According to a media analysis from the Washington Free Beacon, Biden went through 19 interviews in the five weeks since Reade came forward with her allegations without a single question on the topic.
Amy McGrath, Kentucky
The Marine Corps veteran who narrowly lost a 2018 House bid now seeking to unseat Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told Politico that so far, she’s satisfied with the response from Biden despite Biden promising to keep his Senate records housed at the University of Delaware sealed where investigators might find the complaint in question supposedly filed by Reade.
“We need transparency as they navigate these allegations, and so far, I’ve seen that from Joe Biden,” McGrath said.
Steve Bullock, Montana
Montana Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock, who is running up against incumbent Republican Sen. Steve Daines, said his support for Biden hasn’t changed amid the Reade allegations, also arguing that Biden’s transparency has vindicated the Democratic nominee.
“It was important that Vice President Biden addressed this, head on and in a serious manner,” Bullock said in a statement to Politico. “Americans are looking for transparency from their leaders, and Joe Biden delivered on that.”
John Hickenlooper, Colorado
The former Colorado governor running in a competitive primary to face incumbent Republican Sen. Cory Gardner told Politico through a spokesman that his support for Biden has not abated.