Stacey Abrams has made her ambition to be Joe Biden’s running mate abundantly clear over the last couple of weeks. And to that end, she offered the presumptive Democratic nominee her unwavering support when questioned by CNN’s Don Lemon about the sexual assault allegation against Biden on Tuesday night.
“As someone who wants to be his vice president, I think it’s important that we speak about something that’s in the news now,” Lemon said near the end of his conversation with the former Georgia gubernatorial candidate, before laying out the details of Tara Reade’s claim. “CNN has now spoken on the record with her former neighbor who says Reade told her about the allegation within a few years of the alleged incident,” Lemon said. “Biden’s campaign says untrue, never happened. Is this a credible allegation?”
“I believe that women deserve to be heard and I believe that they need to be listened to,” Abrams said carefully. “But I also believe that those allegations have to be investigated by credible sources.” She cited an in-depth New York Times investigation that found the accusation was “not credible,” though new information has emerged in the two weeks since it was published.
“I believe Joe Biden,” Abrams said. “I believe that he is a person who has demonstrated that his love of family, his love of our community, has been made perfectly clear through his work as a congressional leader and as an American leader. I know Joe Biden and I think he's telling the truth and that this did not happen.”
With her conclusion, Abrams appeared to be parroting official Biden campaign talking points, which read, in part, “Biden believes that all women have the right to be heard and to have their claims thoroughly reviewed. In this case, a thorough review by the New York Times has led to the truth: this incident did not happen.”
Lemon could have left things there, but instead he confronted Abrams with a tweet she posted in 2018 that condemned Senate Republicans for “rushing” Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court confirmation forward despite the “courageous and compelling testimony from Dr. Christine Blasey Ford.”
“Are you applying a different standard now?” Lemon asked.
“Not at all,” Abrams replied. “I believed then and I believe now that women deserve to be heard because too often they are not. And Tara Reade deserved to have her story listened to and investigated. What was happening with Christine Blasey Ford was there there was no investigation. There was a rush to move it forward so no investigation was conducted.”
“So you said you’ve heard her, you’ve heard enough, you don’t believe her, you believe Joe Biden,” Lemon said.
After once again returning to the Times investigation, Abrams said, “I believe the Biden I know. And I think he will make women proud, that he will make America proud.” Asked if Biden needs to “address this more directly and more publicly,” Abrams said, “I believe his campaign has been very clear. And I believe that is the approach that they intend to take and I support the approach.
“We don’t want women to ever be afraid to come forward,” she concluded. “But we also have to recognize that allegations should be investigated and that those investigations need to be borne out.”