President Donald Trump said Friday he hopes the sexual assault allegation lodged against former Vice President Joe Biden by a former Senate staffer is a “false accusation,” apparently expressing sympathy for his presumptive Democratic general election opponent.
“I don’t know if it’s false or not,” Trump told “Fox & Friends” of the charges leveled by Tara Reade, who worked in Biden’s office when he served as a U.S. senator from Delaware.
“I mean, Joe is going to have to be able to prove whatever he has to prove, or she has to prove it, but that’s a battle he has to fight,” the president continued. “I’ve had many false accusations made, I can tell you that. Many. And maybe it is a false accusation. Frankly, I hope it is for his sake.”
Reade has claimed Biden assaulted her in a Senate hallway in 1993, and elaborated upon her account in an interview Thursday with journalist Megyn Kelly. Biden categorically denied the allegations last Friday, and called for the National Archives to locate a complaint Reade says she filed with a Capitol personnel office at the time — a search which has thus far proved inconclusive.
The president’s remarks Friday came after The Tribune newspaper in San Luis Obispo, California, reported Thursday that a court document from 1996 shows that Reade told her ex-husband she was sexually harassed while working for Biden. However, the document does not allege that Biden personally committed the harassment or reference Reade’s more recent accusations of sexual assault. A Biden campaign spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment on The Tribune’s report.
Trump, who has been accused of sexual assault or misconduct by nearly two dozen women and has denied all of those accounts, previously encouraged Biden in a podcast interview last Friday to “go out and fight” Reade’s claims, although the president’s reelection campaign has nonetheless sought to bludgeon Biden over the 27-year-old the allegations.