by Emily Larsen April 27, 2020
Tara Reade, the woman who accused Joe Biden of sexually assaulting and harassing her when she worked in his Senate office in 1993, is both aggravated by large corporate media outlets not covering her claims and wary of Republicans trying to use her allegations to their own political advantage.
“What I would say about Republicans using this story is please don’t politicize it,” Reade, 56, told the Washington Examiner in an interview on Monday. “There are many people who identify with Republican politics that have that are also survivors and have also been silenced.”
The political situation is tricky for Republican operatives and allies of President Trump, who hope to damage Biden and their enemies in the press without giving credence to numerous sexual misconduct allegations against the president.
“If they want to talk about sexual assault, sexual harassment in a general way, then this would be the time to have a general conversation,” Reade said. “That has nothing to do with being Democrat or Republican, but just to empower women to be safer in their workplaces and safer in general.”
The Republican National Committee and Trump’s reelection campaign have amplified Reade’s claims in the context of media bias, including by comparing coverage of her allegations to that of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, who denied allegations against him that came to light during his 2018 confirmation hearings.
“There was no evidence that Christine Blasey Ford ever met Brett Kavanaugh. But no one is disputing that Tara Reade worked for Joe Biden. Yet the media is treating her sexual assault allegations against him totally differently,” Trump War Room tweeted last week.
RNC chairwoman Ronna McDaniel compared Reade’s coverage to now-convicted felon attorney Michael Avenatti appearing on multiple networks the day questionable claims about Kavanaugh from a woman named Julie Swetnick surfaced.
The president’s son, Donald Trump Jr., often chimes in about large media outlets’ coverage of Reade’s allegations and on new developments in her claims. “Even today’s media will have a hard time not covering this, but they will try desperately,” he tweeted after Friday’s revelation of a 1993 Larry King CNN show in which a woman, who Reade identified as her mother, called in about her daughter’s difficulty voicing “problems” with a “prominent senator.”
“It’s OK to call out the media a little bit. And if they want to do that, that’s fine,” Reade said. “My concern is that those same people were harassing Blasey Ford.”
Reade wants her claims to amplify women’s claims of sexual assault, not disqualify them, even though she acknowledges that Blasey Ford’s allegation has been covered in a different way.
“I’ve seen some chatter where people have used it to call Blasey Ford a liar, and I don’t subscribe to that. I believe Blasey Ford,” Reade said. “She experienced a lot of targeted harassment that was not okay.”
She is not in contact with Blasey Ford, but said she would like to be, and said that she has not been contacted by any Republican party or the Trump campaign.
“My argument is only with the mainstream media, or the corporate media, that has refused to discuss my allegations,” Reade continued. “Not with her history with Brett Kavanaugh.”
Leftist groups and former campaign staffers for Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders have also amplified Reade’s allegations by pointing a finger at the Democratic establishment protecting its presumptive nominee and a former vice president or by declaring that they find her credible.
Reade, a lifelong Democrat, says she will no longer support either party in national elections because of how her allegations have been handled.
“I do not support Donald Trump, nor will I vote for him ever,” Reade said. “However, that said, I am no longer a Democrat.”
She plans to vote in local elections but is “completely exiting” from national politics.
“They basically weren’t interested in what I had to say because it was Joe Biden and, you know, he’s a Democrat,” Reade said.
“There needs to be a nonpartisan way to address this,” Reade added, saying that “it’s not fair” for women who come forward with allegations to become “political footballs.”
“It doesn’t really get to the heart of how institutionalized our rape culture is, and the lengths that people go to protect a powerful man.”
In spring 1993, when Reade was a staff assistant in Biden’s Senate office, she says that Biden forcibly kissed her and penetrated her with his fingers, and touched her hair and neck without her permission. She says she complained to several top staffers about the harassment, not the assault, and was retaliated against in part by losing supervision over office interns and being told to find a new job.
The three top staffers vehemently deny hearing about her allegations. Biden’s campaign has also denied all allegations. Reade’s brother, two unnamed friends, and one named former neighbor say they remember hearing about either the assault or harassment at the time. Two interns confirm that she was abruptly removed from supervising them.
Biden, Reade says, needs to address the allegations himself, not through his campaign.
“A reporter needs to ask Joe Biden about the sexual harassment and sexual assault,” Reade said.
In comments to Fox News , Reade called on Biden’s potential vice presidential picks to speak up about her allegations, singling out Sens. Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar, and Elizabeth Warren. “If you continue to engage in protecting a powerful man without giving my case a closer look, you are complicit in rape,” Reade said. (Klobuchar has said of Reade’s allegations: “I think this case has been investigated.”)
“To the people that are asking, why didn’t you come forward? I think if you look at my social media and look at how I’ve been treated by major media outlets, you have your answer in real time,” Reade told the Washington Examiner in another interview last week.
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