Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden denied on Friday that he sexually assaulted a former U.S. Senate aide in 1993, in his first public remarks on the subject after he faced intense pressure to personally address the accusation.
“No, It is not true. I’m saying unequivocally it never, never happened,” Biden said in an interview on MSNBC when asked about the accusation, which his campaign had already denied.
A California woman named Tara Reade, who worked as a staff assistant in Biden’s Senate office from December 1992 to August 1993, has accused Biden in media interviews of pinning her against a wall in 1993, reaching under her skirt and pushing his fingers inside her.
Biden, 77, who will be the Democratic nominee to face Republican President Donald Trump, 73, in the Nov. 3 U.S. election, has faced growing pressure from within and outside his party to directly address the accusation.
In a statement before the interview, Biden called on the U.S. Senate to ask the National Archives to release any personnel records that could indicate whether the aide filed a complaint against Biden at the time.
He said that personal papers from his Senate years, which were donated to the University of Delaware and have yet to be made available to the public, do not contain any personnel files.
“There is nothing for me to hide,” Biden said.
Biden said he was not aware of any complaint against him by Reade and he had not asked anyone to sign a non-disclosure agreement. He said he would not question Reade’s motive and did not know why she had made the complaint.
Reuters has not been able to independently confirm Reade’s accusation and also was unable to reach Reade or a representative for her for comment.