As former Vice President and avide #MetToo movement champion Joe Biden all but clenches the Democratic Primary nomination over Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, a woman comes forward with sexual assault allegations against the Democratic frontrunner.
While the timing seems fishy, former Joe Biden staffer Tara Reade says in an interview with Katie Halper that previous attempts at reporting the incidents have fallen on deaf ears.
All allegations of this magnitude, especially considering the awful details Reade shares, should be investigated with a skeptical lense because ‘innocent until proven guilty’ is a quiticential pillar of American society, Biden’s previous stance on ‘believe all women’ makes the media silence on this matter all the more hypocritical.
Biden had previously said in the wake of Dr. Ford’s accusations against Justice Brett Kavanaugh, “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.” The media and politicians were quick to pounce on the Kavanaugh story the moment it broke, but many are afraid to even mention Biden’s accuser. What a difference a D makes compared to an R. He’s also done a campus tour last year where he rallied universities to end sexual violence against women, a cause we can all get behind.
During the interview, Reade, who worked as a staff assistant for then Senator Joe Biden from 1992 to 1993, accused Biden of fostering a sexist working environment, sexually harassing her and other female staffers, as well as sexually assaulting her during one private encounter between her Biden.
She claimed to have witnessed Biden’s handsy tendency, which has come under fire in recent years for being extremely creepy. Reade said Biden made her feel “like an inanimate object.”
Prior to the actual assault, Reade was confronted by an uncomfortable senior staffer who told her the Senator wanted her to serve drinks at a party because Biden thought Reade “had nice legs.” Reade denied the request, but the harassment didn’t end there. Biden would also look her and other female staffers “up and down and smile,” which made her uncomfortable.
When Reade tried to file a report, encouraged by her mother, she was brushed off by her colleagues.
One day, things escalated to a physical assault. Reade was told to bring Biden a gym bag. Reade describes in shocking detail, from the weather to what she was wearing, how when she arrived in the empty outcove Biden was in, the Senator allegedly pushed her against a wall, began moving his hands beneath her skirt, and penetrated her with his fingers. When Reade struggled and pulled away, Biden angrily said, “come on man, I heard you liked me.” She felt as though he blamed her for what happened. Moments after the assault, Biden grabbed her shoulder and said, “you’re okay, you’re fine. You’re okay,” before leaving the room.
The lack of witnesses does bring the claim’s validity into question, but Halper said Reade’s close friend and brother were able to corroborate hearing the claim shortly after it happened.
Reade’s mother again encouraged her to file a police report about the incident, but Reade declined in favor of going through internal channels. The formal complaint she made, which left out the assault, was allegedly buried by staffers.
After the incident, Biden acted cold towards her, Reade’s duties were demoted, she could no longer act in the same capacity she used to. Essentially, she was forced out of the office without being fired.
Reade had reached out to Time’s Up, a nonprofit 501c3 dedicated to assisting women who were victims of sexual assult in stepping up and sharing their story in the #MeToo era.
According to The Intercept, after being told the organization would take up her cause, Reade “learned from a new conversation with Time’s Up, which also involved Director Sharyn Tejani, that no assistance could be provided because the person she was accusing, Biden, was a candidate for federal office, and assisting a case against him could jeopardize the organization’s nonprofit status.”
“On February 11, the NWLC program director wrote to Reade that she ‘wanted to let you know that after our conversation I talked further with our Director, Sharyn Tejani, about our ability to offer funding or public relations support in your case. Unfortunately, the Fund’s decision remains the same. … Please know how much I appreciate your courage in speaking out and appreciate what you shared over the phone, that you are speaking out so that your daughter and other young people can start their careers free of harassment.'”
The Biden Campaign communications director Kate Bedingfield’s released a statement saying:
Women have a right to tell their story, and reporters have an obligation to rigorously vet those claims. We encourage them to do so, because these accusations are false.
Former executive assistant to then-Senator Biden Marianne Baker also commented on the matter, saying:
For nearly 20 years, I worked as Senator Biden’s executive assistant and supervised dozens of employees who reported to me. I took very seriously my duties with respect to human resources, following the direction of a Senator whose insistence on a professional workplace was embedded in our culture. In all my years working for Senator Biden, I never once witnessed, or heard of, or received, any reports of inappropriate conduct, period — not from Ms. Reade, not from anyone. I have absolutely no knowledge or memory of Ms. Reade’s accounting of events, which would have left a searing impression on me as a woman professional, and as a manager. These clearly false allegations are in complete contradiction to both the inner workings of our Senate office and to the man I know and worked so closely with for almost two decades.
Up until now, no mainstream media networks are picking up this still developing story. Until more details are heard and the incident is investigated further, there is no way to verify the credibility of the claim other than whether Tara Reade seems to be a believable witness to her own alleged assault. If the original complaint were to surface, that would lend credibility to the claim.