Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) addressed the recent sexual assault allegation against presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden by a former Senate staffer, saying the silence from the Democratic Party is “a form of gaslighting” and a conversation about his allegation is “legitimate to talk about.”
During an online conversation with The Wing, a networking and community space for women, Ocasio-Cortez was asked about claims made by Tara Reade, who accused Biden of sexually assaulting her in 1993 when he was a Delaware senator. The questioner said she won’t vote for President Trump, but “really resents 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. I think it’s legitimate to talk about these things.”
“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,” she added.
Ocasio-Cortez stated that not discussing a sensitive MeToo issue is the “exact opposite of integrity,” and that it is “not okay” to ignore such issues surrounding sexual assault simply because the Democrats simply want to defeat President Trump in the general election.
“I think a lot of us are just in this moment where it’s like, how did we get here? You know, it almost felt like we started this cycle where we had kind of moved on from, you know, from all of this. And now it feels like we’re kind of back in it,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “And, you know, the most diverse field that we’ve ever seen — that we’re kind of back kind of replaying old movies in a way.”
The progressive lawmaker comments marks the first time any national highest-profile Democrat has spoken about the allegation against Biden. The former Vice President has yet to address the allegations directly, but his campaign had come to Biden defense, issuing a strong denial and calling the claims from Reade “untrue.”
“Vice President Biden has dedicated his public life to changing the culture and the laws around violence against women,” Kate Bedingfield, Deputy Campaign Manager said in a statement after Reade came forward with the allegation in a podcast last month. “He firmly believes that women have a right to be heard — and heard respectfully. Such claims should also be diligently reviewed by an independent press,” she added. “What is clear about this claim — It is untrue. This absolutely did not happen.”
During Tuesday evening conversation Ocasio-Cortez discussed her role as being a prominent progressive voice in the presidential race now that Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) dropped out last week and endorsed Biden.
“My job is to push and push back against everyone. To push back against Republican Party and the Democratic Party,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “That makes people uncomfortable, but we’re just not where we need to be right now.”