#MeToo stalwart Gillibrand stands by Biden after supporting Kavanaugh, Franken accusers
Tara Reade, a former Senate staffer for Joe Biden, has accused the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee of sexual assault when he was a U.S. Senator.
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Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), an outspoken advocate of the #MeToo movement, said on Tuesday that Tara Reade, the former senate staffer for Joe Biden who has accused him of sexual assault, has the right to be heard but that she personally believes the Biden campaign’s denial.
Gillibrand supported Christine Blasey Ford’s allegations against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh and was one of the first Democratic lawmakers to call for former Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) to resign from the Senate over sexual misconduct allegations.
Gillibrand's abandonment of Franken left a bad taste in the mouth of many loyal Democrats. Many reports have linked this lingering resentment to the lack of enthusiasm for her short-lived campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination among the party's donor base and grassroots alike.
Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, has not publicly addressed the allegation brought forth by Reade yet.
Gillibrand was asked if she believes Reade’s allegation.
“So when we say believe women, it's for this explicit intention of making sure there's space for all women to come forward to speak their truth to be heard. And in this allegation, that is what Tara Reade has done,” Gillibrand said during a press briefing on Tuesday.
“She has come forward, she's spoken, and they've done an investigation in several outlets,” she said. "Those investigations, Vice President Biden has called for himself. Vice President Biden has vehemently denied these allegations, and I support Vice President Biden."
Video of Reade’s since-deceased mother calling into CNN’s "Larry King Live" and alluding to her daughter’s allegation has surfaced online.
On Monday, a former next-door neighbor of Reade's stepped forward unasked to corroborate her story of being sexually assaulted in 1993 by her boss, then-Senator Joe Biden. "This happened, and I know it did because I remember talking about it," Lynda LaCasse told Business Insider.
LaCasse described herself as a "very strong Democrat" who continues to be "for Biden, regardless" of her friend's allegation that the former vice president digitally penetrated her against her will.
Despite the mounting evidence, many Democrat #MeToo activists who supported Blasey Ford’s allegations against Kavanaugh have been silent on Reade’s allegation against Biden. Gillibrand was asked if she sees that as a contradiction.
“No, and I stand by Vice President Biden,” she said. "He's devoted his life to supporting women, and he has vehemently denied this allegation."