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New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said Tara Reade’s sexual assault allegation against former Vice President Joe Biden “is not clear cut” and that she’s still weighing the facts.
"It certainly seems as though something has happened. I'm not sure,” the progressive icon told NPR Thursday.
“Frankly, this is a messy moment, and I think we need to acknowledge that — that it is not clear cut.”
Reade has said that, when she worked as an aide to then-Sen. Biden in 1993, he pushed her up against a wall, kissed her, and penetrated her with his fingers. Reade said she later complained that Biden had sexually harassed her to his staff, but his aides denied to the New York Times that conversation ever occurred. Reade’s brother, one of her friends, and a former neighbor have all told various news outlets that she told them about the alleged assault after it occured.
After weeks of silence, Biden finally denied the accusation.
“I’m saying unequivocally that it never, never happened,” Biden said on MSNBC last week. “It didn’t, and it never happened.”
Ocasio-Cortez has said she will vote for Biden but reiterated again on Thursday that she hasn’t officially endorsed him as the Democratic presidential nominee, which he’s now all but certain to become. (Ocasio-Cortez’s choice for the gig was Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who dropped out of the race in early April and endorsed Biden shortly after.) She framed her reluctance to endorse Biden as a question of vision and indicated that the two don’t currently share enough policy values.
AOC also said Thursday that she disagreed with the public focus on how Reade’s accusation will impact Biden’s chances in November.
“Instead of focusing on her account, instead of focusing on her story as a survivor, people are fast-forwarding to the political implications,” she said. “‘Do you want Trump to win? Will you be voting for Joe Biden?’ And that denies justice in this situation.”
Ocasio-Cortez urged people to “look at the aims the survivor is asking for.
“She has never explicitly said, ‘Don’t support Joe Biden,’” Ocasio-Cortez said. (Reade has said that she personally won’t vote for Biden.) “She hasn’t explicitly said anything in terms of a political remedy that she wants. If anything, it sounds like she simply wants to be heard.”
Cover: U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders speaking at a campaign rally held at Venice Beach, CA. He was introduced by U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez who supports his campaign for president. Venice Beach, CA. USA. Dec. 21, 2019. (Photo by Ted Soqui/SIPA USA)(Sipa via AP Images)
This article originally appeared on VICE US.