Progressive Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) blasted her own party Tuesday for its attempts to "silence" any discussion of the recent allegations of sexual assault against former Vice President and presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden.
Ocasio-Cortez, who was a supporter of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders during the Democratic primary campaign, has so far resisted calls to immediately rally around Biden after her favored candidate exited the race last week. Now, she is saying that "it's legitimate to talk about" the allegations of sexual assault against Biden.
According to CBS News, Ocasio-Cortez was communicating with questioners in an online conversation on The Wing, a networking and community space for women, when one woman brought up the accusations leveled against Biden by Tara Reade, who alleges the then-Delaware senator assaulted her while she was working as his staff assistant in 1993.
The questioner stated her opposition to President Trump's re-election, but also noted that she "really resent[ed] the fact that the other choice is someone who has a really long history of being creepy to women."
"What you're voicing is so legitimate and real," Ocasio-Cortez responded. "That's why I find this kind of silencing of all dissent to be a form of gaslighting."
Biden's campaign quickly denied the allegations after they surfaced late last month. Since then, Democratic lawmakers and members of the mainstream media — the same two parties who pushed for discussion of allegations against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh during his confirmation fight — have been all but silent on the issue.
"I think it's legitimate to talk about these things," the progressive New York congresswoman added. "And if we want, if we again want to have integrity, you can't say, you know — both believe women, support all of this, until it inconveniences you, until it inconveniences us."
Ocasio-Cortez, who is certainly no fan of President Trump, even went so far as to acknowledge that not discussing allegations is the "exact opposite of integrity" and that it is "not okay" to prioritize beating Trump over discussing sensitive issues such as the allegations against Biden.
Reade told CBS News that she is grateful for Ocasio-Cortez's support, saying, "I'm very humbled and honored because she is literally the only politician that has spoken up on my behalf."
In an interview with journalist and podcaster Katie Halper last month, Reade said that in 1993, Biden digitally assaulted her against her will in a "side area."
"We were alone, and it was the strangest thing. There was no, like, exchange really, he just had me up against the wall," Reade said. "His hands were on me and underneath my clothes."