According to a report from the Washington Post, Donald Trump undercut his campaign staff and members of his own administration on Friday by defending Joe Biden from accusations of sexual assault after the president's own people spent all morning attacking the former vice president.
Following the former vice president's appearance on MSNBC's "Morning Joe," supporters of the president fanned out to the cable shows, including on the Fox News network, to push the story that Biden assaulted former staffer Tara Reade 27 years ago -- only to have the president dismiss the accusation when asked about it.
"The White House and President Trump’s campaign are seeking to amplify an allegation of sexual assault against Joe Biden, hoping to tarnish the former vice president on an issue where the president’s own record is checkered with accusers," the report notes. "But the effort could be thwarted by Trump himself, who has taken a different tack from that of his own advisers by indicating that false allegations against powerful men are the bigger issue."
Asked about the controversy on Friday, the president told Fox News personality Dan Bongino, "All of a sudden you become a wealthy guy, you’re a famous guy, then you become president. And people that you’ve never seen, that you’ve never heard of, make charges,” Trump stated while also admitting he was "sticking up" for Biden. "I would just say to Joe Biden, ‘Just go out and fight it.’”
The report goes on to note, "The president told Bongino that he thought Reade’s claims were 'credible,' but he spent far more time criticizing what he described as false accusers than he did attacking Biden.
According to the Post, "Trump’s comments stood in contrast to those of officials from the campaign and the White House, who flooded the airwaves Friday to criticize Biden over his response to a former Senate aide’s sexual assault allegation, which Biden has denied. The president’s remarks underscore the challenge Republicans will have in attacking the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee on an issue that dogged Trump’s 2016 campaign and on which he remains vulnerable."
Noting, "Before the president spoke, his allies tried to balance criticizing Biden on his handling of the allegation with deflecting renewed attention on the president’s long list of alleged misconduct," the Post reports that senior Trump counselor Kellyanne Conway has pushed a White House narrative by trying to turn Democrats’ 'believe women' mantra against the former vice president.'"
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