What does “believe survivors” mean? In Ilhan Omar’s case, it means endorsing the man alleged to have assaulted Tara Reade for the presidency. On Good Morning America, Omar tried to square a circle she created in an interview with the Times of London for her new memoir, in which she proclaimed her belief in Reade’s allegations against Joe Biden. When challenged by ABC’s host, “Do you still believe Tara Reade?”, Omar answers by endorsing Biden … and then not addressing Reade’s allegations except to say that we should “believe survivors”:
Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., said that while she will support 2020 presidential candidate Joe Biden in his White House bid, she also thinks it is important to believe survivors of sexual assault, including a woman who has leveled allegations against the former vice president.
Omar appeared on “Good Morning America” on Tuesday morning and responded to questions about a recently published interview with the Sunday Times of London in which she said she believed Tara Reade, a former Senate staffer for Biden who has accused him of sexual assault during her time in the office.
Omar said that the interview quoted in the Sunday Times of London was several weeks old, and did not take a firm stance on whether she still believes all aspects of Reade’s allegations. Instead, she said it’s possible to support Biden in his presidential run while still creating a space for survivors to come forward.
“There’s obviously parts of what she has said that have been corroborated and parts that haven’t, that is not my place to litigate her story,” Omar told “GMA” of Reade’s allegations against Biden. “I think it’s important when someone says they have been assaulted and they see themselves as survivors that we, as we have been saying, believe survivors.”
Omar needs to pick a standard here and stick with it. Not only is endorsing Biden the exact opposite of “believe survivors,” she’s acknowledging that Reade has exceeded that standard to some degree. Some of what Reade has claimed has indirect corroboration, which goes beyond “belief” and into litigation, precisely what Omar claims she doesn’t want to do. And in all Omar’s blather on GMA, she still never explains what’s different between then and now and why the “several weeks” between matter a bit about her position.
Let’s litigate this a little further. “Believe survivors” or “believe women” meant a conviction without due process in Brett Kavanaugh’s case, even without any such independent corroboration of any allegation. (Recall that the four people named by Christine Blasey Ford denied any knowledge of such an assault.) And yet, not only did Omar oppose Kavanaugh’s confirmation on the basis of “believe women,” she called for his impeachment from the Supreme Court last September on the basis of yet another uncorroborated charge that didn’t even come from the woman supposedly involved:
Nothing terrifies this corrupt president more than the idea of Congress upholding the rule of law.
We must open impeachment inquiries against Trump *and* Kavanaugh immediately. It’s our constitutional duty. https://t.co/OVjBDWSqZT
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) September 15, 2019
Now, suddenly, “believe women” or “believe survivors” has become a vehicle for dismissing such claims even when some indirect corroboration has been established. The only difference appears to be the party affiliation of the accused. Omar wants Kavanaugh impeached for a series of completely unsubstantiated allegations, but wants Biden elected as president. Does that sound like “believe survivors,” or does that sound like “exploit accusers for political gain”?
Oh, let’s not always see the same hands …