In the last few days, as more sources publicly corroborated Tara Reade’s sexual assault claim against Joe Biden, self-proclaimed feminist progressives are showing they never intended to #BelieveAllWomen—just some.
First, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi endorsed the former vice president just days after a CNN video corroborating Reade’s claims of sexual assault went public. The video was from a 1993 episode of “Larry King Live” in which Reade’s mother called in asking King how her daughter could get help. Reade told the media such a video existed, and it did. (No thanks to CNN for finding it, though.)
Reade’s claim and the video supporting it apparently didn’t give Pelosi pause about endorsing the former vice president, however, despite what she said about Republicans after they confirmed Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court amid uncorroborated similar accusations.
“Senate Republicans,” Pelosi said, “chose to send a clear message to all women: do not speak out, and if you do – do not expect to be heard, believed or respected.”
Then, hours after Business Insider reported Reade’s former neighbor and a former colleague both corroborating her account, Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., participated in a virtual campaign event for Biden. Viewers of the event would be surprised to learn about the new corroborating sources, one of whom says she’s a Democrat and will support the former vice president “regardless.”
Back in 2018, when addressing Christine Blasey Ford’s allegation about Kavanaugh, which had zero corroborating sources, Harris struck a different tone.
“I believe her,” Harris said. “Listen, first of all, anybody who comes forward at this point to be prepared to testify in the United States Senate against someone who’s being nominated to one of the most powerful positions in the United States government, that takes an extraordinary amount of courage.”
“She’s doing it, I believe, because she knows that this is an important matter. It’s a serious matter. And she has the courage to come forward. She has nothing to gain,” Harris added.
The cherry on the cake happened when Hillary Clinton endorsed Biden on Tuesday, just more than 24 hours after Business Insider broke its story. In her conversation supporting the former vice president, there was no mention of the troubling accusation, which involved forcibly kissing Reade and penetrating her with his fingers.
2015 Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton claimed she would never stand for this.
“Today I want to send a message to every survivor of sexual assault,’ Clinton said at a campaign stop in Iowa. “Don’t let anyone silence your voice. You have the right to be heard. You have the right to be believed and we’re with you.”
Upon hearing Clinton’s endorsement of the former vice president, Reade told Fox News, “I voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016. I voted for her in the primary. I’m a lifelong Democrat. But yet, what I see now is someone enabling a sexual predator and it was my former boss, Joe Biden…Hillary Clinton has a history of enabling powerful men to cover up their sexual predatory behaviors and their inappropriate sexual misconduct. We don’t need that for this country.”
After what went down during the Kavanaugh confirmation, it’s tempting for Republicans to demand Democrats apply the standard to Biden: we were supposed to assume the accused was guilty in spite of a complete lack of corroboration, and any question of the accuser’s credibility was considered out of bounds.
Thankfully, they’re not advocating that. Instead, conservatives are asking Democrats to acknowledge the accusation, consider what evidence exists, confront the former vice president about it, and uphold fairness and due process for everyone involved.
In the very least, prominent progressive “feminists” could ask Biden to answer for the accusation before publicly supporting him. Far from the strict #BelieveAllWomen standard they established, it’s a pretty low bar. (Thus far, Biden has only issued a statement through a spokeswoman, in which he denied the accusation.)
Instead, leftist feminists such as Pelosi, Harris, and Clinton are choosing to establish a new standard: #BelieveAllWomen, except for anyone inconvenient for a Democrat. It’s Progressive Privilege at its worst.
Before the MeToo movement, women who cried assault were often just ignored. In this new era, women are to be believed or ignored based not on evidence or credibility, but on their ability to be used as a political tool. It’s a sad, backwards standard that Democrats are putting forth. And it’s a standard the righteous media will, once again, happily cover for and ignore.
Kelsey Bolar is a contributor to The Federalist and a senior policy analyst at Independent Women’s Forum. She is also the Thursday editor of BRIGHT, a weekly newsletter for women, and the 2017 Tony Blankley Chair at The Steamboat Institute. She lives in Washington, DC, with her husband, daughter, and Australian Shepherd, Utah.