UPDATE: March 26, 2020
On Thursday, March 26, a couple days after her interview with Katie Halper was posted online, Alexandra “Tara” Reade appeared on The Hill’s Rising with Krystal and Saagar, a web-based political talk show hosted by Krystal Ball and Saagar Enjeti, for her first live on-camera interview to discuss her story in further detail.
Watch the video:
Last April, Tara Reade accused former Vice President Joe Biden of inappropriate behavior back that took place in 1993, during her time working at his Senate office. Now, she’s accusing the nearly presumptuous Democratic presidential candidate of sexual assault, in a recent harrowing interview with podcaster Katie Halper.
When Reade initially came out about her experience with Biden last year, she told The Union that he did uncomfortable things such as “put his hand on my shoulder and run his finger up my neck.” Reade also revealed 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 claims she didn’t hear this directly from Biden but learned of it during an argument with his staff. Reade refused to serve the drinks, which she believes was a move that negatively impacted 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 explicitly, with a complete detailed sexual assault allegation against Biden. On Wednesday morning at 2 a.m., talk show host Katie Harper tweeted out a link to an excerpt from a recently recorded interview she conducted with Reade, 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”
— Katie Halper (@kthalps) March 25, 2020
In the interview, which is posted to Soundcloud, Reade describes a traumatic 1993 incident at work that unraveled after being tasked by a superior to deliver a gym bag “down towards the Capitol” to then-Senator Joe Biden. When she arrives, she recalls being beckoned towards the “side area” where she was greeted by the senator.
“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.” Then Biden’s “hands were on me and underneath my clothes,” according to Reade. She recounts that she was wearing a business skirt with no stockings because it was hot at the time.
“He went down my skirt but then up inside it and he penetrated me with his fingers,” Reade continued, her voice trembling with emotion.
Reade remembered the senator kissing her and saying multiple things to her during the encounter:
“I remember him saying first, like as he was doing it, ‘Do you want to 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 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.”
“Everything shattered in that moment,” Reade recalled, knowing that there were no witnesses and she looked up to him. “He was like my father’s age,” she expounds. “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 described how upon noticing her devastated and shocked reaction, Biden grabbed her by the shoulders and told her, “You’re okay. You’re fine,” then walked away.
Biden said something else to Reade after the alleged assault that she initially didn’t want to divulge to the public, because “it’s the thing that stays in my head over and over.” But after a gentle prod from Halper, Reade decided to share it:
“…He took his finger. He just like pointed at me and said, ‘You’re nothing to me.’”
Reade’s distressing accusation is bolstered by statements given to Halper from Reade’s brother and close friend, both of whom affirmed that Reade had told them contemporaneously about the 1993 alleged assault.
When stories of Biden’s inappropriate behavior kept surfacing last year, Biden released a video statement to address the allegations: “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.”
Social norms are changing. I understand that, and I’ve heard what these women are saying. Politics to me has always been about making connections, but I will be more mindful about respecting personal space in the future. That’s my responsibility and I will meet it. pic.twitter.com/Ya2mf5ODts
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) April 3, 2019
— Bill Russo (@BillR) March 31, 2019
After Reade publicly shared her story of Biden’s inappropriate touching last year, she received a tidal wave of negative attention to damage her credibility, including the denigrating smear that she was doing the bidding of Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to The Intercept. This convinced Reade that the best thing for her to do at the time was to go quiet.
However, as Biden’s lock on the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination grew more and more certain as the Democratic primary progressed, Reade began to reconsider her choice to remain silent. She was advised to seek help from the non-profit Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund for legal assistance and funding for managing what she anticipated would be serious PR backlash for her allegations, and thus reached out to the organization in January 2020. Time’s Up was created in the wake of the #MeToo movement to help sexual assault survivors tell their stories.
Ultimately, Time‘s Up was unable to assist her, the group claimed, because the person she was accusing, Joe Biden, was a candidate for federal office, and providing legal and PR 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.
I believe Tara Reade. Believe women, not just at convenience. Biden must be immediately held accountable. #IBelieveTara
— Dy🌹✊🏿 (@DynastyClaire) March 25, 2020
In a statement to The Intercept, Reade made it clear that she was deeply conflicted about coming forward publicly with her accusations, considering Biden was likely to become the primary challenger in November 2020 to compete against President Donald Trump, a man Reade says she deeply opposes. “I don’t want to help Trump. But what can I do?” she agonized. “All I can do is stand on my truth.”
(Edited from original source posted at Reddit)
Text Intro: Tara Reade has been trying to tell her story since it happened in 1993, when she was working as a staff assistant for Joe Biden. She told part of her story– about how Biden would put his hands on her shoulders and run his fingers up and down her neck– in the spring of 2019 after Lucy Flores accused Biden of kissing the top of her head and smelling her hair inappropriately. But Reade didn’t tell her full story. As Ryan Grim reveals at The Intercept, Reade asked for help from Time’s Up, but the organization said it could not support her because a case taking on Biden would jeopardize their non-profit status. Tara is finally telling the story she’s been trying to tell for decades. While there were no witnesses to Biden’s alleged sexual assault of Tara Reade, her brother and close friend, both of whom I’ve spoken to, recall Reade telling them about it at the time. The rest of the interview will be released shortly.
Katie Halper: Hello and welcome to the Katie Halper show I’m about to play an excerpt from an interview that I did with Tara Reade. The full episode will be up shortly. As a warning, Tara discusses sexual assault during this interview.
Tara was one of eight women to accuse Joe Biden of some form of inappropriate touching last spring after Nevada politician Lucy Flores alleged that the vice president inappropriately touched her during her run for congress. Tara told journalists that in 1993 when she was a staff assistant to then senator Biden, he put his hands on her shoulders and rubbed his fingers up and down her neck. But Tara says there’s more to her story and she considered telling it last spring, but after coming forward and being smeared as a Russian agent and being doxed, she did not. We now know from Ryan Grim at 324 article on The Intercept, Tara did try to come forward once again in January of 2020.
Tara turned to Times Up, the non-profit dedicated to helping women in the post me-too world tell their story. But Times Up, Ryan Grim reports, was concerned such a political story involving a potential presidential candidate could affect their non-profit status. So here Tara finally tells the rest of the story that she hasn’t been able to tell in the past. Not surprisingly, there are no witnesses to Tara’s story of alleged assault, but Tara’s brother and Tara’s close friend, both of whom I spoke to recalled Tara telling them about the incident at the time.
Here is an excerpt. I’ll be releasing the full interview shortly. And this opens with Tara describing a superior calling her into her office to ask her to do an errand. So she says that she…
Tara Reade: …called me in and said, “I want you to take this to Joe. He wants it. He wants you to bring it. Hurry. And I said, “Okay.” And it was a gym bag. She said, you know, take the gym bag. She called it an ‘athletic bag’. And you know she said he was down towards the Capitol and he’ll meet you.
And so I went down, and I was heading down towards there and he was at first talking to someone. I could see him at a distance and they went away and then um we were in like the side. It was like the side area. And he just said, “Hey, come here, Tara!” and then I handed him the thing and he greeted me. He remembered my name.
And then we were alone, and it was the strangest thing. There was no like exchange really. He just had me up against the wall. And um, I was wearing a skirt. You know a business skirt, but I wasn’t wearing stockings. It was kind of a hot day that day, and I was wearing heels. And I remember my legs had been hurting from the marble, you know of the Capitol. And so I remember that kind of stuff. I remember like I was wearing a blouse and he just had me up against the wall, and the wall was cold.
And I remember he — it happened all at once. The gym bag — I don’t know where it went. I handed it to him and it was gone. And then his hands were on me and underneath my clothes. And, um, yeah.. and then he went, um.. he went down my skirt and up inside it and he uh penetrated me with his fingers. And um, I — uh, he was kissing me at the same time, and he was saying something to me. He was saying several things, and I can’t remember everything he said.
I remember a couple of things. 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 was 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 if “I heard” but it’s like he — like, that I had done this.
Like I don’t know, and for me it was like, everything shattered in that moment, because I knew like we were alone and it was over, right? He wasn’t trying to do anything more, but I looked up to him. He was like my father’s age. He was this champion of women’s rights in my eyes, and I couldn’t believe it was happening. It seemed surreal. And I knew I just felt sick because when I pulled back, he looked annoyed and he said something else to me that I don’t want to say. And then he said — I must have looked shocked. And then he grabbed by the shoulders. I don’t know how I looked, but I must have looked something, because he grabbed me by the shoulders and he said, “You’re okay, you’re fine. You’re okay, you’re fine.” And then he walked away and he went on with his day.
And what I remember next was being in the Russell building like where the big windows are in the stairs by myself, and my body — I was shaking everywhere because it was cold all of the sudden. I don’t know — I just felt like I was shaking — just everywhere, and I was trying to grasp what just happened and what I should do or what I should say. But I knew it was bad because he was so angry. Like when he left, I could feel, you know how when you know someone’s angry they don’t necessarily have to say anything. Like he smiles when he’s angry and you can just feel it emanating from him.
Katie Halper: Do you want to share that thing, like you said “I don’t wanna say what he said. That thing he said to you.”
Tara Reade: Um. Yeah, I guess I could.
Katie Halper: I mean, you don’t have to.
Tara Reade: It’s okay. It’s just.. um. It’s almost like giving a weapon to them.
Katie Halper: How so?
Tara Reade: Well, it’s like, I don’t want them to know how much it hurt. I don’t know. I don’t what him to know…
Katie Halper: That like – that you remembered it?
Tara Reade: Yeah, just, I don’t know… But yeah, I can say it. Um, yeah. There’s something he said that I didn’t want to say, and I didn’t want to say it because it’s the thing that stays in my head over and over… like, and it’s the thing that kind of stayed with me over the years. But he said.. When he had me against the wall after he had done — after I pulled away and he said, “Hey! Y’know. Come on, I heard you liked me.” And I knew he was angry right after. He took his finger; he just like pointed at me and he said, “You’re nothing to me.” And he just looked at me and goes, “You’re nothing. Nothing.”
And then I must’ve reacted. And I think he only said it twice. But I just heard the word ‘nothing’. And I must’ve reacted because that’s when he took me by the shoulders and he said, you know, “You’re okay. You’re fine. You’re okay.” But then afterwards like it kept replaying in my head and like last April when all that stuff came out, I got really really sad about it.
And the thing that I remember most — almost more than the assault itself — was that I was nothing. And he was right. That’s how people treated me. That’s how the whole office treated me. And I have no platform. I am no one. And to him I’m nothing. So yeah. So people want to know why women don’t come forward, that’s a good example why.
Katie Halper: Stand by for the full interview.