Trigger Warning: This article contains descriptions of sexual assault.
We previously penned an article with the headline We Need to Talk About These Assault Allegations Against Joe Biden. One month later, here we finally are. Yay?
In recent weeks, woman named Tara Reade, who worked for Joe Biden when he was a senator in 1993, has come forward accusing the presumptive Democratic nominee of sexual assault, expanding on a previous claim that Biden had touched her inappropriately to allege he also pushed her against a wall and sexually assaulted her.
After remaining silent about the allegations for many weeks, Joe Biden this morning made a statement denying them.
In a written statement, Biden says that this incident “never happened.” The former Vice President and presumptive Democratic nominee also attempts to advocate for survivors of sexual assault, saying, “While the details of these allegations of sexual harassment and sexual assault are complicated, two things are not complicated. One is that women deserve to be treated with dignity and respect, and when they step forward they should be heard, not silenced. The second is that their stories should be subject to appropriate inquiry and scrutiny.”
Biden echoed the sentiments of the written statement in an interview on MSNBC, where he reiterated, “I’m saying unequivocally it never, never happened.” He also urged the National Archives to search through his Senate records to identify any complaint of misconduct, which Reade says she filed with the Senate in 1993.
Other Biden staffers at the time say they do not recall a complaint or ever discussing an issue like this with Reade. Reade’s motivations have been questioned because of past praise of Vladimir Putin.
So, Biden has graduated from ignoring the allegations to denying them. A bit derivative, but I’m glad he is addressing them now, as they are bound to come up in November. We all know Trump will bring this sh*t up, and Biden needs to be prepared for that. *Thinks about the inevitable moment when these two men go back and forth about their sexual assault allegations on the debate stage and voluntarily dissociates until 2021*
To recap, Tara Reade came forward with allegations of inappropriate touching from Biden back in 2019 when several women did the same. She spoke of incidents when Biden touched her neck and shoulders and made her uncomfortable. Reade has since elaborated on her story, and says Biden shoved her against a wall and penetrated her with his fingers without her consent.
Unfortunately, her story wasn’t met with much of the “believe women” and “all women should be heard” sentiment that the world claimed to adopt in the post #MeToo era. Not many major news outlets covered the story, people accused Reade of being politically motivated, and Biden himself remained silent while women like Nancy Pelosi and Stacey Abrams had to speak on the issue for him.
Not our best work as the party who claims to be champions of survivors, I’ll say that.
Perhaps the reason we finally saw some acknowledgment of these allegations this week are because of a) pressure from women’s rights groups pleading with the former vice president to make a statement before they had to publicly ask him to, and b), evolving reporting that suggests there is more evidence that can be investigated.
Originally, Reade’s brother and a friend who asked to remain anonymous were able to confirm that she told them about the assault after it happened. This week, two more people came forward to say Reade discussed the incident with them.
A former neighbor of Reade’s, Lynda LaCasse, told Business Insider, “This happened, and I know it did because I remember talking about it.”
Another source, Lorraine Sanchez, a former coworker of Reade’s, says she recalls Reade complaining at the time that her former boss in Washington, DC, had sexually harassed her.
Reade had also previously said that she had talked to her mother, who has since passed, about the assault. A newly surfaced video from 1993 shows a woman calling into “Larry King Live” to seek advice for her daughter who was having “problems” working for a prominent senator.
“My daughter has just left there after working for a prominent senator, and could not get through with her problems at all,” the woman says. “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.”
Reade told CNN that she is confident the voice in this video is her mother’s.
In his official statement, Biden called on the National Archives to release any existing complaint related to Reade’s employment, even as he continued to oppose requests to release other documents related to his years in the Senate, which are housed at the University of Delaware and not scheduled for public release until two years after he leaves public life.
When pressed by MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski about why he wouldn’t allow a search for any documents related to Ms. Reade at the University of Delaware, Biden — seemingly annoyed by the question — claimed that there wouldn’t be anything to find there. He also suggested that releasing the papers could result in the release of private, confidential conversations with officials that his political opponents could use to undermine his 2020 chances. Who, Donald Trump?! He would never!
So, as it stands, Biden denies the allegation, there are several people able to corroborate Reade’s story, but there isn’t any evidence being released that could verify her official complaint against Biden. Hopefully, we can move forward with this information and do a thorough investigation, as women and all survivors do deserve to be heard.
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Trigger Warning: Sexual assault
We interrupt our regularly scheduled programming of bad news (coronavirus) to bring you some other bad news. Sorry, I don’t make the rules. The year 2020 does and she is one brutal bitch.
As you or may not have heard, there are new sexual assault allegations against Joe Biden. You may not have heard of this because it’s not being widely covered by most major news networks. Well, we’re not most major news networks, so we’re going to breakdown what we know.
The woman who has come forward with these allegations is Tara Reade, a former staffer for Biden when he was a senator in 1993. Reade was one of the several women who came forward with allegations of inappropriate touching (read: sexual harassment) after Lucy Flores wrote about an incident when Biden came up from behind her, put his hands on her shoulders, sniffed her hair, and then slowly kissed the back of her head backstage at her campaign rally.
Flores’ piece ran in The Cut in March 2019, right before Biden announced his run for president. Many wondered if it would affect his ability to gain Democratic support for the nomination. Well, I guess we got our answer, as he is currently the frontrunner.
Reade’s original allegation was that Biden used to put his hand on her shoulder and then run his finger up her neck when she worked for his Senate office. Not what you want from your literal boss, or any person who you have not given permission to touch you, for that matter. Creepy thing to do! Anyway, now Reade has come forward saying there is more to her story.
Warning: this next part is graphic and upsetting. Please read with caution, and be kind to yourself.
Reade told her full story to Katie Halper on her podcast. In the interview, Reade recounts a time when Biden pushed her against a wall, stuck his hands up her skirt, and then penetrated her with his fingers, all without her consent. She also says when she tried to pull away he said something along the lines of, “I thought you liked me.”
Of course, since people still don’t seem to fully grasp that coming forward about sexual assault isn’t an easy and fun thing to do, the question of why Reade waited to share this part of the story has come up. Reade’s answer is two-fold.
First, she only shared part of her story because she figured that part would more likely be believed, as it matched what Lucy Flores experienced. And she wanted to stand with Flores, as she saw talk shows like The View defending Biden. Plus, she had witnesses and a filed contemporaneous complaint for those accusations. But still, after she came forward with the original accusations of sexual harassment from Biden, she received backlash online. People accused her of making it up and being politically motivated, pointing to a since deleted Medium post that Reade had written that praised Russia and Vladmir Putin.
Reade’s 2018 Medium piece said, “What if I told you that everything you learned about Russia was wrong? President Putin scares the power elite in America because he is a compassionate, caring, visionary leader. … To President Putin, I say keep your eyes to the beautiful future and maybe, just maybe America will come to see Russia as I do, with eyes of love. To all my Russian friends, happy holiday and Happy New Year.”
Reade is currently writing a novel based in Russia, and in the process had learned about Russia through a Russian friend. At the time, she says, she wrote the post in the spirit of world peace and solidarity with her friend. She has also pointed out that her writing shouldn’t make her unable to be the victim of sexual assault.
Nonetheless, after dealing with online harassment and disbelief from people, she decided to go silent. Until now.
Reade attempted to take her case to TimesUp, but was ultimately turned away and told that the organization could lose its nonprofit status for going after a presidential candidate (whether or not this is true is up for debate). Reade is trudging on without their help, but not a lot of news outlets are having her on. She did an interview with Krystal Ball on her left-leaning online talk show, “Rising,” which is worth listening to. But for the most part, this story isn’t getting a lot of traction.
A lot of the information comes from the coverage written by Ryan Grim for The Intercept, a publication that has been accused of attacking the establishment, particularly the Democratic establishment. Some people think this means we should take this story with a grain of salt. But even with that, this story deserves further investigation.
Joe Biden is the frontrunner for the Democratic presidential candidate. If these accusations of sexual assault are credible, the American people need to know. We need a fully covered, thorough investigation.
Reade said in her interview with Katie Halper that at the time of the incident, she told a friend, her mother and her brother. Her mother has since passed, but both the friend and brother confirmed to The Intercept that she came to them when it happened. There are ways to investigate here.
If time really is up, we should be eagerly searching for the truth, not ignoring it.