Former Vice President and presumptive 2020 Democrat presidential nominee Joe Biden has denied he sexually assaulted an aide in his Senate office in the 1990s and has said the claim should be “vetted,” but he had a different response when asked about Christine Blasey Ford’s similar accusation against Justice Brett Kavanaugh, saying women “should be given the benefit of the doubt.”
Biden made the remarks on NBC’s Today on September 21, 2018, when anchor Craig Melvin asked him about Blasey Ford’s treatment, as documented by Grabien Media.
Biden, on whether Kavanaugh deserves the presumption of innocence: “the woman should be given the benefit of the doubt and not be abused again by the system." pic.twitter.com/D4cGTYbaQm
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) May 1, 2020
A transcript is as follows:
CRAIG MELVIN: Dr. Ford has said now that she wants to testify, as you know, Mr. Vice President. But now the battle seems to be over how versus when. She wants to make sure that she’s protected. She wants to make sure she’s treated fairly. How would you suggest that the Senate handle these allegations?
JOE BIDEN: I think they should do an FBI investigation. We did that for Anita Hill. It took two days, number one. And number two, most importantly, Anita Hill was vilified when she came forward by a lot of my colleagues, character assassination. I wish I could have done more to prevent those questions and the way they asked them. I hope my colleagues learned from that. Learned from that. She deserves to be treated with dignity. It takes enormous courage for a woman to come forward under the bright lights of million of people watching her and relive something that happened to her, assert something happened to her. She should be treated with respect.
MELVIN: You brought up Anita Hill. You were chairman of the Judiciary Committee back in 1991. You were roundly criticized for not doing more during that hearing. Looking back on that, specifically, how would you advise senators to proceed next week? And how do you balance the rights of a woman who is making accusations like this versus the presumption that a person is innocent until proven guilty?
BIDEN: I think the presumption should exist, but what should happen is the woman should be given the benefit of the doubt and not be abused again by the system. My biggest regret was, I didn’t know how I could shut you off if you were a senator and you were attacking Anita Hill’s character. Under the Senate rules, I can’t gavel you down and say you can’t ask that question, although I tried. So, what happened was, she got victimized again during the process. I believed her when she came forward. I encouraged her to come forward. We were in a position where we got the FBI to do an investigation. And I voted against Clarence Thomas. He only got seven votes. He got seven yeses and seven noes; it was a tie vote in the committee. But I hope they understand what courage it takes for someone to come forward and relive what they believe happened to them, and let them state it. But treat her with respect. Ask tough questions. Ask substantive questions, “Where were you? What was said? When?” et cetera. But don’t go after the character assassination.
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