Tara Reade, the former U.S. Senate staffer accusing former Vice President Joe Biden of sexual assault, says her mother called into a live show with Larry King on CNN in 1993 to anonymously discuss the alleged incident without naming Biden or her daughter.
Last month, Reade revealed there was more to the story she told in April 2019. At first, she only accused the former vice president of unwanted touching and sexual harassment. Reade now claims Biden pushed her up against a wall and forcibly penetrated her with his fingers, while she was briefly employed by his Senate office in the early 1990s. She also claims that, before departing Biden’s office in August of 1993, she broached the topic of sexual harassment with the senator’s aides but did not mention the assault, which Reade alleges took place either in the U.S. Capitol or the Russell Senate Office Building.
The former vice president’s campaign, for its part, has vehemently denied the accusation. As the supposed assault took place nearly two decades ago. it has been difficult to corroborate fully either the accusation or the denial.
On Friday, however, Biden’s progressive critics suggested that a portion of Reade’s story was corroborated. The Intercept reported that Reade’s mother hinted at the alleged assault on a contemporaneous national television broadcast. Reade told reporter Ryan Grim that her mother called in to CNN’s Larry King Live around the time that she had left Biden’s office. “I remember it being an anonymous call and her saying my daughter was sexually harassed and retaliated against and fired, where can she go for help? I was mortified,” Reade said, according to Grim.
Initially, the Intercept determined a call that could fit the description — though not mentioning sexual harassment, firing, or retaliation, as Reade had recalled it — did take place on an August 11, 1993 edition of King’s show. The outlet, however, was unable to confirm that the woman in question was Reade’s mother, as it only had transcripts of the segment. It was able to determine, though, that the caller was identified as a woman from San Luis Obispo, California, where Reade’s mother was then living.
Shortly after the Intercept’s story was published, the conservative-leaning Media Research Council dug up video of the segment. Reade, who did not respond to Breitbart News by press time, told other outlets that she recognized the caller’s voice as her mother’s.
“I’m wondering what a staffer would do besides go to the press in Washington,” the woman says in the video. “My daughter has just left there, after working for a prominent senator, and could not get through with her problems at all, and the only thing she could have done was go to the press, and she chose not to do it out of respect for him.”
BREAKING: Is this the mother of Joe Biden's accuser talking to CNN in 1993? pic.twitter.com/rF7jw35s2F
— MediaResearchCenter (@theMRC) April 24, 2020
Politico’s Holly Otterbein spoke with Reade after the call surfaced and she confirmed she believed it was her mother’s voice. Reade’s mother passed away in 2016.
Tara Reade told me this is her mother's voice. https://t.co/7ymN6Pj55m
— Holly Otterbein (@hollyotterbein) April 24, 2020
Reade also told reporters that hearing what she believes was her mother’s voice again a few years after she died brought tears to her eyes:
BREAKING: Tara Reade tells me video evidence of her mother's voice proves her allegations against Biden are true:
"I just heard audio, my mother died and hearing her voice made me cry. She was such a good mom and always watching out for me even now."https://t.co/p7hTm292nI
— Mary Margaret Olohan (@MaryMargOlohan) April 24, 2020
The vagueness of the 1993 call will likely entrench both sides of the debate over Reade’s allegations. For progressive #MeToo activists and staunch Bernie Sanders supporters, the call could be interpreted as proof that Reade did tell her mother about the alleged incident when it occurred. On the other hand, Biden supporters can point to the caller’s silence on the supposed assault, any other alleged harassment, and the identity of the “prominent senator.”
As this internal schism unfolds, Biden is still proceeding toward the Democratic National Convention as the party’s presumptive presidential nominee. Every major contender in the primary, including Sen. Sanders, has dropped out and endorsed the former VP. However, Sanders and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) have said that Reade’s allegations deserve serious discussion.