In 2018, at the height of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation fight, former Vice President Joe Biden made headlines when he asserted that a woman's public claims of sexual assault should be presumed to be true.
Biden had been dragged into the matter due to similarities between Kavanaugh's confirmation battle and Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas' 1991 confirmation hearings, during which Biden was an integral figure. Biden was Senate Judiciary chairman at the time and had presided over the hearings, which famously featured a sexual assault allegation against Thomas by a former colleague, Anita Hill.
"Oh, I thought she was telling the truth at the beginning," Biden said of Hill nearly two decades later. "I really did."
"For a woman to come forward in the glaring lights of focus, nationally, you've got to start off with the presumption that at least the essence of what she's talking about is real, whether or not she forgets facts, whether or not it's been made worse or better over time," he added in an interview with the Washington Post.
Now those words may come back to haunt the current front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination, as he has been publicly accused of sexual assault by former staff assistant Tara Reade.
Reade said in an interview with journalist and podcaster Katie Halper that in 1993, when Biden was a U.S. senator, he pinned her against a wall and digitally penetrated her without her consent.
"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 in the interview, which was released Wednesday.
"His hands were on me, and underneath my clothes," she continued. "He went down my skirt, but then up inside. He penetrated me with his fingers."
Reade alleged that Biden kissed her and asked if she "wanted to go somewhere else," and said, "C'mon man, I heard you liked me."
Biden then angrily dismissed her, Reade recalled about the assault, which she said left her shaking and "trying to grasp what had just happened and what I should do or what I should say."
There were no witnesses to the alleged assault, though Halper noted that Reade told her brother and a close friend at the time.
However, witness corroboration shouldn't matter to Biden, who claims that a public accusation such as this should be enough. "You've got to start off with the presumption that at least the essence of what she's talking about is real," Biden should say.