In April of last year, Tara Reade accused Joe Biden of inappropriate behavior when she worked at his Senate office in 1993. Now, she’s accusing the Democratic presidential nominee of sexual assault, according to a graphic interview with podcaster Katie Halper.
When Reade initially came out about her experience with Biden, she told The Union that he did uncomfortable things like “put his hand on my shoulder and run his finger up my neck.” Reade also said that she cut ties with Biden’s office over an early 1993 staff argument. According to Reade, Biden wanted her to serve drinks because he liked her legs. Reade says she didn’t hear this directly from Biden but she learned of it during her argument with staff. Reade refused to serve the drinks, which she believes was a move that affected her career.
“My life was hell,” Reade said. “This was about power and control. I couldn’t get a job on the Hill.” She eventually left Biden’s office in August of 1993.
Now, Reade is speaking out even more with a sexual assault allegation against Biden. Katie Halper posted an excerpt from an interview done with Reade to Twitter around 2 a.m. on Wednesday, writing “This is a story that @ReadeAlexandra has been trying to tell since it happened in 1993. It’s a story about sexual assault, retaliation and silencing. #meToo.”
In the interview excerpt, which is posted to Soundcloud, Reade described a graphic 1993 incident where a superior asked her to take a gym bag to Biden “down towards the capital.” Then she recalls being called towards the “side area” where Biden greeted her.
“We were alone and it was the strangest thing,” she said. “There was no like exchange really. He just had me up against the wall.”
Reade went on to say that she was wearing a business skirt with no stockings because it was hot at the time. While up against the wall, Reade says Biden’s “hands were on me and underneath my clothes.”
“He went down my skirt but then up inside it and he penetrated me with his fingers,” Reade emotionally continued.
Reade also said Biden was kissing her and saying multiple things to her. She remembered a couple of the comments.
“I remember him saying first, like as he was doing it, ‘Do you want to go somewhere else,'” she said. “And then him saying to me when I pulled away, he got finished doing what he was doing, and I kind of just pulled back and he said, ‘Come on man, I heard you liked me.’ And that phrase stayed with me because I kept thinking what I might’ve said and I can’t remember exactly if he said ‘i thought’ or ‘I heard’ but he implied that I had done this.”
Reade then went on to say that “everything shattered in that moment” because she knew that there were no witnesses and she looked up to him. “He was like my father’s age,” she said. “He was like this champion of women’s rights in my eyes and I couldn’t believe it was happening. It seemed surreal.”
Reade then said Biden grabbed her by the shoulders and said, “You’re okay. You’re fine” and proceeded to walk away.
Reade said that Biden also told her something after the alleged assault that she initially didn’t want to share because “it’s the thing that stays in my head over and over.” But after some pressing from Halper, Reade decided to share:
“He took his finger. He just like pointed at me and said you’re nothing to me.”
Halper said she spoke with Reade’s brother and close friend, and both of them recall Reade telling them about the alleged assault at the time.
When allegations of Biden’s inappropriate behavior started surfacing last year, Biden released a statement saying, “In my many years on the campaign trail and in public life, I have offered countless handshakes, hugs, expressions of affection, support and comfort.” He continued, “And not once — never — did I believe I acted inappropriately. If it is suggested I did so, I will listen respectfully. But it was never my intention.”
After Reade told her story of Biden’s inappropriate touching last year, she says she received a wave of attention, including the accusation that she was doing the bidding of Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to The Intercept. This caused Reade to go quiet.
However, as Biden’s presidential run persisted, Reade began to reconsider staying quiet. To obtain legal assistance and to manage what she guessed would be serious backlash for her accusations, Reade reached out to the Time’s Up organization in January 2020. Time’s Up was created in the wake of the #MeToo movement to help survivors tell their stories.
Ultimately, the group couldn’t assist her because the person she was accusing, Biden, was a candidate for federal office. Providing legal and P.R. support for Reade could reportedly threaten the non-profit status of Time’s Up, which is housed within the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC).
“As a nonprofit 501(c)(3) charitable organization, the National Women’s Law Center is restricted in how it can spend its funds, including restrictions that pertain to candidates running for election,” explained NWLC spokesperson, Maria Patrick, to The Intercept. “Our decision on whether or not to provide certain types of support to an individual should not be interpreted as our validation or doubt of the truthfulness of the person’s statements. Regardless, our support of workers who come forward regarding workplace sexual harassment remains unwavering.”
Reade’s sexual assault accusations caused the hashtag #IBelieveTara to trend on Twitter on Wednesday.
In a statement to The Intercept, Reade made it clear that she was deeply afflicted about coming forward about her accusations, considering Biden could run against Donald Trump, a man Reade said she deeply opposes. “I don’t want to help Trump. But what can I do?” she said. “All I can do is stand on my truth.”