Former Vice President Joe Biden, the frontrunner for the 2020 Democrat presidential nomination, is facing a new sexual assault allegation from a former congressional staffer.
Tara Reade, who came forward last year to accuse Biden have inappropriately touched her in the 1990s, revealed earlier this week during an interview on the podcast of New York City blogger Katie Halper that there was more to the story. According to Reade, while working as a staff assistant in Biden’s Senate office in 1993, she was asked by one of her colleagues to deliver a “gym bag” to the senator. When Reade caught up with Biden, she alleges, he pressed up against a wall and proceeded to kiss her.
“It happened all at once, and then… his hands were on me and underneath my clothes,” Reade told Halper, elaborating on the alleged assault in detail.
And then he went down my skirt and then up inside it. And he penetrated me with his fingers, whatever. And he was kissing me at the same time and he was saying something to me. He said several things and I can’t remember everything [that] he said. I remember a couple of things. I remember his saying, first, like as he was doing it, ‘Do you want to go somewhere else?’ and then him saying to me, when I pulled away, 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.’ 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.
“For me, everything shattered in that moment,” she added. “He wasn’t trying to do anything more. But I looked up to him. He was my father’s age. He was this champion of women’s rights in my eyes and I couldn’t believe it was happening.”
Reade said the purported assault took place in either the U.S. Capitol or the Russell Senate Office Building–where Biden’s office was located at the time. Her inability to recollect the exact time and place of the supposed assault was the result of decades of having “worked so hard not to remember it anymore.” Although there are no direct witnesses to the alleged assault, Reade claims that she told a close friend, as well as her brother, about the incident at the time it occurred.
Last April, Reade was one of eight women to come forward and accuse Biden of unwanted touching after similar allegations were made by Lucy Flores, a one-time candidate for lieutenant governor of Nevada. That initial attempt to tell her story, however, had gone poorly, with some reporters and media personalities using an old Medium piece Reade penned praising Russia and Vladimir Putin to dismiss the allegations outright.
At the time, Reade did not allege that she was digitally penetrated by Biden while in his employ. Reade did, however, attempt to share her full story earlier this year by contacting a prominent #MeToo group, Time’s Up. Read hoped the group could not only publicize the allegations, but also provide financial assistance for any legal suit, either against the former vice president or her online “harassers.”
Time’s Up and its affiliated legal defense fund turned down those entreaties, arguing their nonprofit status could be in jeopardy by taking on a candidate for the presidency. A prominent campaign finance expert told Breitbart News earlier this week that reasoning was inaccurate and seemed to imply Time’s Up was protecting a “prominent political candidate.”
On Friday, Biden’s campaign publicly denied there was any truth to Reade’s accusation.
“Women have a right to tell their story, and reporters have an obligation to rigorously vet those claims,” Kate Bedingfield, the former vice president’s deputy campaign manager, told Fox News. “We encourage them to do so, because these accusations are false.”
Bedingfield’s comments, though, stand in stark contrast to those Biden, himself, made at the height of confirmation hearings for Supreme Court 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, whether or not she forgets facts, whether or not it’s been made worse or better over time,” Biden said in November 2018.