Former Vice President Joe Biden has been accused of sexually assaulting a former staffer in 1993 in his Senate office.
Tara Reade, who worked in Biden’s office in 1993, accused Biden of touching her, kissing her and penetrating her with his fingers without consent.
Reade made her claims in an interview with Katie Halper, a writer and podcast host, released Wednesday.
“We were alone, and it was the strangest thing. There was no, like, exchange really, he just had me up against the wall,” Reade said.
“His hands were on me and underneath my clothes. And then, he went, he went down my skirt and then up inside it, and he penetrated me with his fingers…and um…He was kissing me at the same time and he was saying something to me,” she also told Halper.
“He got finished doing what he was doing and I, how I was pulled back and he said, ‘Come on man, I heard you liked me.’ And that phrase stayed with me because I kept thinking what I might have said. And I can’t remember exactly if he said ‘I thought’ or if ‘I heard.’ It’s like he implied that I had done this.”
— Katie Halper (@kthalps) March 25, 2020
Reade said that she told her mother and brother about the assault. She also told a friend, who she says advised her not to come forward and face a public firestorm. Her mother, who has since passed, told her to report the incident, but her brother also discouraged her from doing so.
The Daily Caller reached out to Biden’s campaign about the allegation Wednesday and has received no response.
The reaction to this allegation has largely been muted in major media outlets. As of Friday afternoon, searches of the New York Times, CNN.com, the Los Angeles Times and many other outlets show no articles on the allegations. Additionally, a keyword search of cable news channels turns up no results on major networks like CNN, MSNBC, Fox News or CNBC.
A brief mention of the allegation was made in a Washington Post live chat this week.
Some, like Reason’s Robby Soave, have juxtaposed the allegation with Biden’s past rhetoric on sexual assault. In a piece published Thursday titled, “Joe Biden Said He Believes All Women. Does He Believe Tara Reade?” Soave points out that Biden has consistently advocated a policy of automatically believing claims of sexual assault.
“For a woman to come forward in the glaring lights of focus, nationally, you’ve got to start off with the presumption that at least the essence of what she’s talking about is real, whether or not she forgets facts, whether or not it’s been made worse or better over time,” Biden said in 2018 following an allegation of sexual misconduct against now-Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
Compounding Reade’s new allegation is a story published in The Intercept this week that detailed how Time’s Up, an organization dedicated to fighting sexual assault and harassment, declined to help Reade because she was going to accuse Biden, who was a candidate for federal office. Time’s Up was reportedly worried that helping Reade could potentially hurt their 501(c)3 nonprofit tax status.
Further, Anita Dunn, an adviser to the Biden campaign, is also the “managing director” for SKDKnickerbocker, a PR firm that works with the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund.
The Intercept piece also notes that Reade was a onetime supporter of Democratic Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s presidential campaign and is now a supporter of Independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.
Biden has previously come under fire for his touchy behavior around women, which he responded to by pledging to be “more mindful about respecting personal space in the future.” (RELATED: Joe Biden Releases Plan To End Violence Against Women Days After Fundraising With Alleged Women Abusers)
Previously, Biden advocated against non-consensual touching.
“Nothing justifies a man laying a hand on a woman without her consent,” he said in a 2018 interview. “Look, you need consent.”