Former Senate staffer Tara Reade is in the news after accusing Joe Biden of allegedly assaulting her in the 1990s, which he has denied. Here’s what you should know about Reade, the situation, and Biden’s denial.
Tara Reade, 56, has accused former Vice President Joe Biden of allegedly sexually assaulting her in 1993, when she worked as a staffer in his Senate office. Reade says that the then-Delaware Senator, now 77, allegedly pushed her up against a wall in a “semiprivate” area of a Senate building, kissed her, and assaulted her with his fingers. Her shocking account came in March 2020 via a podcast interview, just as Biden became the presumptive 2020 Democratic nominee for president. Biden has vehemently denied the allegations, including during a May 1 interview on MSNBC’s Morning Joe. Here’s what you should know about Reade and her accusations:
1. She accused Joe Biden of allegedly sexually assaulting her 27 years ago, and some are skeptical. Reade revealed on Katie Halper‘s podcast on March 25, 2020, that the former VP assaulted her in a corridor of a Capitol Hill building, when she was 29 years old. Reade, a staffer who worked with Biden’s interns, worked for the senator from December 2012 to August 13. She claims that she told multiple top Biden aides about the alleged assault after it happened, but they didn’t take any action. The aides she named in a New York Times investigation — Marianne Baker, Dennis Toner, and Ted Kaufman — all deny this. Some have questioned the timing of Reade’s accusation, which came as Biden’s 2020 presidential campaign picked up steam. She stressed that her intentions are not political or made to help the Trump reelection campaign; she’s a “third generation” Democrat.
Reade said that she told her mother, who has since passed away, her brother, and several friends about the alleged assault. Her brother initially told The Washington Post that she told him about being harassed, but not assaulted. He recanted later, and said she had revealed it. Two friends — Lynda LaCasse and Lorraine Sanchez — told Business Insider that Reade told them parts of what allegedly happened in the mid-1990s.
Joe Biden, asked on @Morning_Joe if he sexually assaulted Tara Reade:
“No, it is not true. I’m saying unequivocally it never, never happened. And it didn’t. It never happened.” pic.twitter.com/nXIAdGloG5
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) May 1, 2020
2. Joe Biden vehemently denies Reade’s assault allegation. The Biden camp has shot down Reade’s claims from the beginning, but the candidate himself didn’t address them until May 1, when he released a statement and gave an interview to Morning Joe. Biden told co-host Mika Brzezinski that, “it is not true, I’m saying it unequivocally; it never happened. It never, never happened. I don’t remember any type of complaint — it was 27 years ago — nor does anyone I know. The fact is, I don’t remember any complaint made.” He stressed that she’s within her right to make the complaint, but her allegation should be thoroughly vetted and investigated before being declared true.
He said that he’s asked the Secretary of the Senate to comb through the National Archives to uncover any potential complaints lodged by Reade after the alleged incident, but is confident they won’t find anything. “Nobody brought [a complaint] to me. Nobody at my Senate office at the time is aware of such complaint. I’m not worried about it at all. If it’s there, put it out,” he told Brzezinski. “Any woman should come forward and be heard, and then they should be investigated. If case is made, she should be believed. The truth matters. These claims are not true.”
3. She’s one of the eight women who accused Biden of misconduct in 2019. Reade initially came forward in spring 2019 with other women to accuse Biden of alleged behavior that made her “uncomfortable.” Reade, specifically, claimed Biden stroked her neck and her hair. She said she didn’t come forward with the assault claim because she was “scared” of repercussion. She was reportedly already getting death threats for the harassment complaint.
4. She’s now a writer. Tara now lives in Nevada City, California and is a writer and a poet. After leaving Biden’s office, she worked as an intern for Congressman Leon Panetta (D-CA), who went on to become Secretary of Defense, Director of the CIA, White House Chief of Staff, and Director of the Office of Management and Budget.
5. She’s a domestic violence activist. Reade was reportedly the victim of an abusive marriage, and after leaving the relationship, started working as a victim’s rights advocate. More recently, she’s worked with families who have special-needs children. She’s also passionate about animal rights, according to her Twitter bio.