Joe Biden’s presidential campaign on Friday denied a graphic sexual assault allegation made by former Senate staffer Tara Reade.
“Women have the right to tell their story, and reporters have an obligation to rigorously vet those claims,” Kate Bedingfield, the deputy campaign manager and communications director, said in a statement. “We encourage them to do so, because these accusations are false.”
Last year, Ms. Reade was one of several women who accused Mr. Biden of unwanted touching, saying he used to “put his hand on my shoulder and run his finger up my neck” when she worked in his Senate office in the early ’90s.
During a podcast interview with Katie Halper Wednesday, Ms. Reade revealed there’s much more to her story. She accused Mr. Biden of pinning her against a wall and penetrating her with his fingers without her consent in his Senate office in 1993.
“He greeted me, he remembered my name, and then we were alone. It was the strangest thing,” Ms. Reade recalled. “There was no like, exchange really. He just had me up against the wall.
“His hands were on me and underneath my clothes, and he went down my skirt and then up inside it and he penetrated me with his fingers and he was kissing me at the same time and he was saying something to me,” she continued. “I remember him saying first, like, as he was doing it, ‘Do you wanna go somewhere else?’ And then him saying to me when I pulled away, he got finished doing what he was doing and I kind of pulled back and he said, ‘Come on, man. I heard you liked me.'”
Several women came forward last year just before Mr. Biden launched his campaign to accuse him of inappropriate conduct, including smelling their hair and rubbing their shoulders, but this is the first allegation of assault against the presumed Democratic presidential nominee.
In April, Mr. Biden said his intentions with the women were honorable but promised to be more aware of his proximity to others in the future.
The hashtags #IBelieveTara and #TimesUpBiden have trended on Twitter in recent days but there has been very little mention of Ms. Reade’s allegation by mainstream media outlets. A Guardian editorial titled, “Why has the media ignored sexual assault allegations against Biden?” says it’s “hypocritical” for Democrats to ignore the story because it could hurt the former vice president’s chances of being elected.
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