The Washington Post editorial board on Wednesday said former Vice President Joe Biden, the presumptive Democrat presidential nominee, should address accusations of sexual assault brought against him by former Senate staffer Tara Reade and release documents relating to the alleged incident.
The Post’s editorial board writes:
TARA READE deserves to be heard, and voters deserve to hear her. They deserve to hear from Joe Biden, too.
One place to start is the records covering Mr. Biden’s 36-year Senate career, donated to the University of Delaware in 2012 and slated for release to the public two years after Mr. Biden “retires from public life.”
The narrower question is whether the public ought to have as much information as possible about an assault accusation against a presidential contender, and the answer is yes.
Another place to look is at the source: the candidate himself. Mr. Biden may have little to say besides what his campaign has already said — that he did not do this, and that this is not something he ever would do. Yet the way to signal he takes Ms. Reade’s case seriously, and the cases of women like her seriously, is to go before the media and the public ready to listen and to reply.
Reade, a former staff assistant to Biden, alleges that the then-senator sexually assaulted her while the two were in the basement of a Capitol Hill complex in 1993.
“He was whispering to me and trying to kiss me at the same time, and he was saying, ‘Do you want to go somewhere else?’” Reade recounted in a recent interview with the Associated Press. “I remember wanting to say stop, but I don’t know if I said it out loud or if I just thought it. I was kind of frozen up.”
Reade alleges she moved away from Biden, who then replied: “come on, man, I heard you liked me.”
Although Biden has yet to personally address the allegations, Kate Bedingfield, Biden’s deputy campaign manager, has vehemently denied the claims.
“Vice President Biden has dedicated his public life to changing the culture and the laws around violence against women. He authored and fought for the passage and reauthorization of the landmark Violence Against Women Act,” Bedingfield said earlier April. “He firmly believes that women have a right to be heard — and heard respectfully. Such claims should also be diligently reviewed by an independent press. What is clear about this claim: it is untrue. This absolutely did not happen.”
“As Buzzfeed correctly reported, our story found three former Senate aides whom Reade said she complained to contemporaneously, all of whom either did not remember the incident or said that it did not happen,” the Times said.
A New York Times spokesperson says Biden campaign talking points “inaccurately” suggest that the Times investigation found that Tara Reade’s allegation “did not happen.” Response to this scoop from @rubycramer @RosieGray https://t.co/ZUD6f2WSEE pic.twitter.com/LNaHvH0ZxF
— Jonathan Easley (@JonEasley) April 29, 2020
“The story also included former interns who remembered Reade suddenly changing roles and no longer overseeing them, which took place during the same time period that Reade said she was abruptly reassigned,” the statement added. “The Times also spoke to a friend who said Reade told her the details of the allegation at the time; another friend and Reade’s brother say she told them of a traumatic sexual incident involving Biden.”
The Biden campaign’s effort to coordinate a denial of Reade’s allegations comes after Lynda LaCasse, a former neighbor to Reade, said the two discussed her alleged allegation against Biden between 1995 and 1996.
“I remember her saying, here was this person that she was working for and she idolized him,” LaCasse told Business Insider in an interview published Monday. “And he kind of put her up against a wall. And he put his hand up her skirt and he put his fingers inside her. She felt like she was assaulted, and she really didn’t feel there was anything she could do.”
“She was crying,” LaCasse continued. “She was upset. And the more she talked about it, the more she started crying. I remember saying that she needed to file a police report.”
“I don’t remember all the details,” she added. “I remember the skirt. I remember the fingers. I remember she was devastated.”
LaCasse, a Biden supporter, is the first person to corroborate Reade’s claims.