Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., mentioned as a possible Joe Biden running mate, said Thursday the ex-vice president needs to address sexual assault allegations from former staffer Tara Reade.
“Any woman who brings, or any man for that matter, who brings forward allegations of abuse, especially in the workplace, deserve to be listened to, and I certainly think that we need to thoroughly look at these allegations,” Duckworth said.
She added, “I think that the Biden campaign should address this issue, and they have been.”
Duckworth, an early Biden supporter, affirmed her backing for the former vice president. “I certainly would rather have Joe Biden in the White House than Donald Trump, a man who we have on record, videotaped, boasting about how he’s assaulted women,” she said.
While looking at Reade’s allegations, Duckworth said, “let’s not fool ourselves to think that Donald Trump is the guy” who is going to “look out for women.”
As for her name being in the Biden vice presidential mix, Duckworth said, “I’m just proud to have my name mentioned in the same breath as the likes of Kamala Harris or Amy Klobuchar,” senators from California and Minnesota who ran for president.
Duckworth commented on a Politico “Women Rule” podcast interview, speaking as MSNBC announced that Biden will respond for the first time to Reade’s allegations on Friday’s “Morning Joe” show.
The Biden campaign has been weighing how to deal with the Reade matter in the wake of the Washington Post and New York Times investigating her allegations, a decision that is not easy. While Biden will be grilled on the show of his choice, his interview will give major exposure to Reade’s allegations. The Trump campaign and presidential allies have been beating the media drums to throw a spotlight on the allegations.
At issue is what happened in 1993, when Reade worked for Biden, who was then a Delaware senator. Reade surfaces in the “MeToo” era and as Biden is the Democratic presidential presumptive nominee.
Reade last year went public saying Biden, uninvited, touched her. Biden is known for showing affection in public. In March, when it was clear Biden would be the nominee, Reade made a sexual assault allegation, saying the incident happened somewhere in the Capitol.
While Biden has not spoken out about Reade, Kate Bedingfield, Biden’s deputy campaign manager, said, in part in a statement, “What is clear about this claim: It is untrue. This absolutely did not happen.”
Duckworth is working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic. Her daughter Abigail, 5, strolled into the picture as Duckworth did the podcast Thursday. Duckworth also said she is cooking more meals for her family and trying to exercise more, and as part of improving her diet, she joined Weight Watchers.