在拜登于 2020 年 8 月宣布哈里斯担任副总统竞选队友之后，右倾网站开始行动。
In August 2020, readers asked Snopes to examine the accuracy of news articles that claimed that U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., had once said she “believed” women who accused former Vice President Joe Biden of offenses ranging from inappropriate touching to rape.
Biden named Harris his pick for vice presidential running mate on Aug. 11, prompting reports, primarily from right-leaning sources, which pointed to Harris’ past remarks.
Fox News published an article on their website with the headline, “Flashback: Kamala Harris Said She Believed Women Who Accused Biden of Inappropriate Touching,” writing that:
“Sen. Kamala Harris, who was announced as presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden’s running mate on Tuesday, once said that she believed women who accused Biden of inappropriate touching.
“‘I believe them, and I respect them being able to tell their story and having the courage to do it,’ the California senator told reporters in April 2019. Biden had been accused by a number of women of inappropriate touching and kissing, including by a Nevada politician who said he came up behind her at a 2014 campaign stop and kissed her on the back of her head.”
After Harris made the remarks in question on April 2, 2019, three more women publicly accused Biden of having touched them inappropriately, made them uncomfortable, or made inappropriate remarks about their physical appearance.
A fourth woman, Tara Reade, alleged in March 2020 that Biden sexually assaulted her at an office in the U.S. Capitol, providing descriptions that some readers might find disturbing. Reade said that when she worked in his U.S. Senate office in 1993, Biden pushed her against a wall, subjected her to unwanted kissing, and digitally penetrated her. (Although Reade did not herself use the word “rape” to describe the latter allegation, digital penetration without consent is included in the definition of rape used by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in its Uniform Crime Report. In that context, it is reasonable to state that Reade accused Biden of raping her).
Biden has vehemently denied Reade’s allegations, telling MSNBC’s “Morning Joe”: “It is not true. I’m saying, unequivocally, it never never happened…”
While Harris said plainly “I believe them” about those women who had, before April 2, 2019, accused Biden of inappropriate touching, the senator has not said the same about Reade’s rape allegation, and did not do so when asked about it. Speaking to the San Francisco Chronicle’s “It’s All Political” podcast, in April 2020, Harris said Reade had a right to be heard, and should face no repercussions for “telling her story,” but defended Biden’s record as “somebody who really has fought for women and empowerment of women and women’s equality and rights”:
This woman has a right to tell her story, and I believe that, and I believe Joe Biden believes that too. I’ve spent my whole career…fighting to give women a voice, and this brings up, I think, a bigger structural issue, frankly, which is that women must be able to speak without fear of retaliation…On the issue of Joe, I can only speak to the Joe Biden I know. He’s been a life-long fighter in terms of stopping violence against women. He has been the leader, I think really most people would agree, in the United States Senate on VAWA, the Violence Against Women Act.
So, you know, as I said, she has a right to tell her story, and she shouldn’t face any repercussions for that. But the Joe Biden I know is somebody who really has fought for women and empowerment of women and women’s equality and rights.
The Federalist’s claim, in its headline, which said that Harris had said she believed “Biden’s rape accusers,” was therefore false, both because Harris made her comments long before Reade accused Biden of rape, and because she is the only woman to have made that accusation. The Federalist later changed its headline to claim that Harris had said she believed “Biden’s sexual harassment accusers.”
However, as of Aug. 13, 2020, the article itself still stated that Harris “said last year that she believes the women who accused Biden of sexual assault.” This is equally misleading, since no woman had accused Biden of sexual assault when Harris made her remarks on April 2, 2019.