Speed Reads

'real for Dr. Ford but not for Tara Reade?'

MSNBC's Mika Brzezinski grills Joe Biden: 'Are women to be believed unless it pertains to you?'

Former Vice President Joe Biden denied Tara Reade's sexual assault claims against him in an interview for the first time on Friday, facing questions about his past statements on believing assault allegations.

MSNBC's Mika Brzezinski interviewed Biden Friday morning about Reade's allegation that he sexually assaulted her in 1993, confronting the presumptive Democratic nominee with his 2018 statement that when women come forward with assault allegations, "you've got to start off with the presumption that at least the essence of what she's talking about is real." Biden's comments came as then Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh had been accused of sexual assault by Christine Blasey Ford.

"As it pertained to Dr. Ford, high level Democrats said she should be believed, that they believed it happened," Brzezinski said. "You said if someone like Dr. Ford were to come out, the essence of what she is saying has to be believed, has to be real. Why is it real for Dr. Ford but not for Tara Reade?"

Biden said that he's "not suggesting" Reade didn't have a right to come forward with her claim, which he "unequivocally" denied during the interview and in a written statement. Brzezinski continued to push Biden, also asking, "Are women to be believed unless it pertains to you?"

Biden responded that women who come forward should "start off with the presumption they're telling the truth," and "then you have to look at the circumstances and the facts. And the facts in this case do not exist. They never happened." Brendan Morrow