“#Kamala Harris believed Joe Biden ’s accusers — until she didn ’t”
It was during the Brett Kavanaugh hearings that we first learned that Harris harbors serious presidential aspirations. Her cross-examination of the future justice went viral, prompting Politico to speculate: “Kamala Harris Rides Kavanaugh Rage in Likely 2020 Bid.”
She later explained her hard-line position in an Atlantic magazine interview. Sexual assault, she said, “is an issue right now that is where the issue of domestic violence was about 30 years ago. … There was a perception about domestic violence: ‘Oh, you know, what happens in the king ’s castle is the king ’s business. That ’s private business. That ’s not our business. ’ But then we evolved as a society. … I believe this is an inflection moment on the issue of sexual assault.”
The explicitly stated assumption behind all this was that the allegations against Kavanaugh, spurious, unproved and uncorroborated though they were, had to be believed — because women had made them.
Harris beefed up her #MeToo credentials later, making it clear she doesn ’t just believe women accusing Republicans of sexual assault. All women had to be believed, including those who accused prominent Democrats. At a campaign event in Nevada in April 2019, Harris discussed the allegations against Biden, declaring of the accusers: “I believe them, and I respect them being able to tell their story and having the courage to do it.”
So Biden is an abuser — because women have accused him, and all women should be believed. Right?
So what has changed since then? Sexual assault and harassment are some of the most serious allegations that can be leveled against a man. Harris now needs to account for why she is comfortable joining an abuser ’s 2020 ticket. This isn ’t some debate-stage policy disagreement she can just walk back, claiming she has “evolved.”
There are only two possibilities. One is that Harris didn ’t, in fact, believe Biden ’s accusers but claimed she did to score political points against him. If so, she used the very serious issue of sexual assault as a cheap political cudgel.
The other possibility is that she still believes the ex-veep ’s accusers but is comfortable teaming up with an abuser (not to mention a racist, another charged accusation Harris has thrown Biden ’s way).
After Harris ended her own bid and Biden emerged as the presumptive nominee, she began subtly backtracking. Asked on a podcast this April about former Senate aide Tara Reade ’s accusation against Biden, Harris stated that Reade “has a right to tell her story.” Even so, “the Joe Biden I know is somebody who really has fought for women and empowerment of women.” Harris added that she would be “honored to serve with Joe.”
Note well the new standard: When the accusation is against a Republican foe, a woman is automatically to be believed, period, no questions asked. But when an accusation is less politically expedient, women are owed no more than the right to be “heard,” and the accused men deserve a fair hearing, as well.
That ’s disgusting. How we treat assault and abuse allegations shouldn ’t depend on the personal ambitions of Kamala Harris.
As it is, what are voters to make of a presidential candidate accused of sexual assault by multiple women — and a running mate who has stated on the record that she believes his accusers?
For the last several years, progressives have repeatedly claimed they seek the moral high ground against a Republican president with a checkered past with women. That moral high ground is now lost.
The fact that Harris so eagerly climbed aboard Joe ’s bus says something about her character and what she really thinks about #MeToo. Far from the feminist icon she portrayed herself as during the Kavanaugh hearings, she personifies the left ’s weaponization of assault for political ends. The biggest losers in this game are true victims of assault and abuse, who now face an even more daunting climb to being believed.
Harris ’ addition to the Biden ticket, then, is not a great feminist achievement. Rather, it is a harsh blow to the feminist cause. Her decision to join Biden after accusing him of assault underscores, in a damning and irreversible way, how unseriously her party takes these issues when there are political ambitions at stake.
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