April 30, 2020
The host of MSNBC’s show “All-In,” Chris Hayes, sparked backlash from the left when he became the first prime time host on the network to cover a former aide’s sexual assault allegations against presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden. As a result, the hashtag #FireChrisHayes began trending on Twitter, The Hill reported on April 30.
Hayes welcomed New York Magazine Writer-at-Large Rebecca Traister to his program Wednesday night, April 29, after she penned an essay, entitled “The Biden Trap,” which was critical of the former vice president for not addressing Tara Reade’s allegations in any interviews—and, thereby, leaving Democratic women supporting his candidacy to answer questions about the allegations for him.
“What this is creating is a perfect storm … where women are being asked … to answer for these charges,” Traister told Hayes. “In part because of the vacuum created by Joe Biden who is not yet really directly answering these questions, and certainly, not doing what I wish he would, which is to say: ‘Please direct your questions about these allegations to me, and not the women that are out there offering their support to my candidacy.”
Biden has conducted dozens of national and local interviews in recent weeks, but has yet to be asked about the allegations, The Hill said. His campaign denied the allegations in a statement on March 28.
However, Reade said last month that Biden sexually assaulted her in a secluded part of Capitol Hill when he was a senator in 1993. She was backed up by a former neighbor, her mother, and her brother. She was one of several women who came forward last year to say that Biden’s public touching had made her uncomfortable. He later said he would adjust his behavior.
“The man in question, the nominee, the former vice president, is going to have to address [the allegations],” Hayes argued during the segment. “And not have [former Democratic Georgia gubernatorial candidate] Stacey Abrams or anyone else, or [Senator] Kirsten Gillibrand [D-New York] do that.”
Abrams is reportedly on a list of candidates Biden is considering to be his running mate. She told CNN’s Don Lemon on Tuesday night that she believed Biden while citing a New York Times investigation written earlier this month, before more corroboration of Reade’s allegations was reported.
The Times later pushed back on the assertion that it had cleared Biden of any wrongdoing, The Hill reports. “Our investigation made no conclusion either way,” a Times spokesperson said in a Wednesday statement.
Several journalists praised Hayes for covering the story while knowing the potential for backlash from some on the left.
Reade has said that she confronted Biden’s aides, but the aides Reade listed have gone on the record to say that they were never confronted about the allegation.
Reade also says she filed a complaint with the human resources office in the Senate about the allegations of inappropriate touching. Media outlets, however, have not been able to track down the complaint, according to The Hill.
Reade did not file a police report at the time. She filed one with the Washington, D.C., police last month.
Research contact: @thehill