Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN-05) said in a recent interview that she believes the sexual assault allegations against former Vice President Joe Biden, but will vote for him anyway.
Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, has been accused by a former Senate staffer, Tara Reade, of sexually assaulting her in 1993. According to Reade’s account, Biden kissed her and penetrated her with his fingers without her consent – an accusation Biden has denied.
“I do believe Reade,” Omar told the UK’s Sunday Times in a recent interview. “Justice can be delayed, but should never be denied.”
Omar supported the presidential candidacy of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and said she would rather not have Biden as her party’s nominee. Even still, she plans to vote for the 77-year-old in November.
“Believing survivors is consistent with my values. Yes, I endorsed against Biden and I didn’t pick him as our nominee,” she wrote on Twitter Monday. “With that said, in this interview I did on May 6, we talked about that and quotes aren’t always in context. I will vote for him and help him defeat Trump.”
Believing survivors is consistent with my values. Yes, I endorsed against Biden and I didn’t pick him as our nominee. With that said, in this interview I did on May 6th, we talked about that and quotes aren’t always in context. I will vote for him and help him defeat Trump.
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) May 25, 2020
Omar reiterated her intention to support Biden in a Tuesday interview with Good Morning America.
“I plan on supporting and helping the VP, Joe Biden, in defeating Trump,” she said. “There’s obviously parts of what she has said that has been corroborated, parts of it that hasn’t.”
.@ABC NEWS EXCLUSIVE: We speak one-on-one with @IlhanMN on the allegations against Joe Biden, her new memoir "This is What America Looks Like" and her journey from refugee to congresswoman. https://t.co/5FEZ833d5o pic.twitter.com/XslpstlkkT
— Good Morning America (@GMA) May 26, 2020
Other progressive Democrats who backed Sanders have made similar comments, including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY-14).
“There have been investigative journalists that have corroborated certain aspects of her account – that is undeniable – and have raised questions about other aspects of her account,” she told NPR earlier this month. “It certainly seems as though something has happened. I’m not sure. Frankly, this is a messy moment, and I think we need to acknowledge that – that it is not clear-cut.”
Biden addressed the allegations in a lengthy statement released May 1 on Medium.
“I recognize my responsibility to be a voice, an advocate, and a leader for the change in culture that has begun but is nowhere near finished. So I want to address allegations by a former staffer that I engaged in misconduct 27 years ago,” he said. “They aren’t true. This never happened.”
Preya Samsundar, a spokesperson for the Republican National Committee, called on other Minnesota Democrats to address the allegations.
“If an extreme, partisan liberal like Rep. Omar can believe and speak up on the sexual assault allegations against Joe Biden, why can’t Tina Smith, Angie Craig, Dean Phillips, and Collin Peterson?” she said. “Smith, Craig, Phillips, and Peterson owe Minnesotans their truthful take on the situation, along with whether or not they still support their party’s presumptive nominee.”
– – –