Speed Reads

breaking his silence

Biden denies Tara Reade's sexual assault allegation, asks National Archives to search for her complaint

Former Vice President Joe Biden on Friday for the first time denied former staffer Tara Reade's allegation that he sexually assaulted her in 1993.

Biden broke his silence on Tara Reade's allegation of sexual assault after his campaign previously denied it, saying in a statement, "This never happened."

"While the details of these allegations of sexual harassment and sexual assault are complicated, two things are not complicated," Biden said. "One is that women deserve to be treated with dignity and respect, and when they step forward they should be heard, not silenced. The second is that their stories should be subject to appropriate inquiry and scrutiny."

Biden also said he is requesting that the Secretary of the Senate ask the National Archives to identity a record of a complaint Reade says she filed and release it to the press.

Following the release of his statement, Biden addressed the allegation in an appearance on MSNBC's Morning Joe, reiterating, "It is not true. I'm saying unequivocally, it never, never happened. And it didn't. It never happened."

Regarding Reade's complaint, asked on MSNBC if he's confident there's no complaint, Biden said, "I'm confident there's nothing. ... I'm not worried about it at all." Later, he also said, "I know of no one who's aware that any complaint was made."

Asked what he would say to Reade, Biden said, "I don't know what is motivating her. I don't know what's behind any of it. But it's irrelevant. It never happened."