Former Staffer Accuses Joe Biden of Sexual Assault
“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,” said Joe Biden in 2018.
As Vice President, Joe Biden visited college campuses across the country, spreading the Obama administration’s message of ending sexual misconduct as part of the “It’s On Us” campaign. Several years later, making Biden the figurehead of the movement seems an odd choice, as allegations have flooded in about his sexual misconduct around women.
In 2019, Lucy Flores, a Nevada politician, became the most well-known Biden accuser. She alleged Biden inappropriately sniffed her hair and kissed the back of her head at a campaign event in 2014.
Tara Reade, a Biden staffer in the ‘90s, heard the story and decided to corroborate other accusations by sharing her story with a local Nevada journalist.
After facing roadblocks in getting her story out including intimidation and smears, Reade went quiet. But, she has now decided to share her full story with the public.
It is the most damning accusation against Biden, the former staffer accused Biden of penetrating her with his finger without her consent. Rolling Stone’s Katie Halper interviewed Reade, and she provides chilling details about Biden, a man she looked up to as a role model.
The latest telling of Reade’s story comes after she reached out to Time’s Up, a legal defense fund set up in the wake of #MeToo to support women in their sexual misconduct cases against powerful men. But, Reade quickly found out that the former Vice President’s sphere of influence extends quite far.
Time’s Up: For Women or the Powerful?
Halper’s interview with Reade was released after The Intercept reported that despite initial conversations with Time’s Up, the organization told Reade that they could not take on her case because Biden is seeking federal office, so the case could threaten their non-profit status.
Despite declining to take the case, director Ellie Driscoll said, “please know how much I appreciate your courage in speaking out and appreciate what you shared over the phone, that you are speaking out so that your daughter and other young people can start their careers free of harassment.”
By not pursuing cases against people pursuing federal office, Time’s Up restricts accusers from pursuing cases against the most powerful people in the country. President Donald Trump and any person seeking election to Congress would be completely off-limits.
However, Time’s Up’s reasoning does not stand up according to Ellen Aprill, a professor of tax law at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, who told The Intercept that Time’s Up could pursue a case against a federal official without jeopardizing their non-profit status.
More likely than non-profit status, it is Time’s Up’s connections to the Biden campaign that led to the legal defense fund turning Reade away. Anita Dunn is the managing director of the press relations firm contracted to work for Time’s Up, and she is also a top adviser to the Biden 2020 campaign. Notably, Dunn also worked as a public relations adviser to Harvey Weinstein over a 2017 New York Times investigation into his sexual assault accusations.
After being shut down by Time’s Up, Reade was unsure where to turn. While The Intercept did not publish the rape accusations against Biden, the journalist who wrote the article, Ryan Grim, appeared on The Hill’s “Rising” and said Reade’s further accusations were corroborated by her brother and best friend, whom she had confided in after the incident.
Grim’s article was followed up by the interview with Katie Halper, in which she describes in detail the incident in question.
Reade alleges that Biden held her against a wall, lifted up her skirt and penetrated her with his fingers.
Reade said she eventually resisted Biden’s unwanted advances, and Reade detailed, “when I pulled away, he got finished doing what he was doing… he said, ‘come on man, I thought you liked me.’”
As of the writing of this article, mainstream publications have not covered the accusations. Reade appeared on The Hill’s Rising today.
The Biden campaign has not responded to Reade’s latest allegations, but during the 2019 wave of inappropriate conduct accusations against him, Biden said, “social norms have begun to change. They have shifted, and the boundaries of protecting personal space have been reset, and I get that.”
Powerful forces, including Time’s Up, have attempted to sweep accusations against Biden under the rug, but maybe it’s best to listen to the words of Biden himself, “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.”