MSNBC host 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 BidenJoe BidenTrump says China ‘will do anything they can’ to keep him from being reelected Bolton book release delayed — again — amid government review Trump lashed out at campaign manager over polling showing him trailing Biden: reports MORE, with the hashtag “FireChrisHayes” trending on Twitter.
The “All-In” host welcomed New York magazine’s Rebecca Traister to his program Wednesday night after she penned an essay, titled “The Biden Trap,” that was critical of the former vice president for not addressing Tara Reade’s allegations in any interviews, thereby leaving Democratic women supporting his candidacy to answer questions about the allegations for him.
Biden has conducted dozens of national and local interviews in recent weeks, but has yet to be asked about the allegations. His campaign denied the allegations in a statement on March 28.
“What this is creating is a kind of a perfect storm where the women who are being asked to support his opponent are now 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.’”
“The man in question, the nominee, the former vice president, is going to have to address them,” Hayes argued. “And not have [former Democratic Georgia gubernatorial candidate] Stacey Abrams or anyone else, or [Sen.] Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandNYT’s Ben Smith: ‘Ask Biden to open his personal papers to inspection’ after sexual assault allegation Desiree Tims wins Democratic primary, will face off against longtime GOP Rep. Michael Turner WH correspondents president Karl on Biden allegations: ‘He’s going to have to answer these questions’ MORE [D-N.Y.] do that.”
Abrams is reportedly on a list of candidates Biden is considering to be his running mate.
She told CNN’s Don LemonDon Carlton LemonStacey Abrams on Tara Reade sexual assault allegation: ‘I believe Joe Biden’ Trump: 100 ventilators ‘immediately’ being sent to Colorado Megyn Kelly rips Don Lemon over Trump criticism: CNN ‘still pretends he is an objective news anchor’ MORE 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 New York Times did a deep investigation and they found that the accusation was not credible. I believe Joe Biden,” she said.
The Times later pushed back on the assertion it had cleared Biden of any wrongdoing.
“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.
Hey Chris Hayes, you ran such a dishonest story about Joe Biden tonight, #FireChrisHayes is starting to trend. Let’s say we make it trend all the way. Hayes needs to retract the story or go do something else for a living.https://t.co/OKaTP4evax
— Palmer Report (@PalmerReport) April 30, 2020
Chris Hayes has been one of the media’s most virulent, relentless & arguably effective Trump critics — an all-consuming loathing for the President — but #FireChrisHayes was trending because he covered the sex assault allegations against Biden.
Shows what MSNBC has cultivated.
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) April 30, 2020
Kudos to @chrislhayes for just calling out the awfulness of having Klobuchar, Abrams, Gillibrand, and other female supporters field questions about Tara Reade’s accusation against Joe Biden rather than the candidate himself.
— Robby Soave (@robbysoave) April 30, 2020
.@chrislhayes had the audacity to cover what appears to be a credible–and certainly newsworthy–sexual assault allegation against Joe Biden.
Now, Twitter liberals are demanding MSNBC fire him.
— Walker Bragman (@WalkerBragman) April 30, 2020
I am consistently impressed with @chrislhayes’ willingness to do what is right and buck the undoubtably weighty influence of network television.
It’s not close — he is *the* best host working within a system that doesn’t necessarily incentivize his instinctive truth telling. https://t.co/EPRZkRIko4
— Emma Vigeland (@EmmaVigeland) April 30, 2020
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 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.
This week, Reade’s former neighbor said she recalled a discussion with her about the alleged assault at the time. Reade’s brother also previously said that she told him that Biden “had his hand under her clothes at some point.”
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.
And she said she believes the complaint is in Biden’s archives at the University of Delaware, which is currently not releasing the former vice president’s records.
Reade did not file a police report at the time. She filed one with the Washington, D.C., police last month.