Tara Reade, a former Senate aide to Joe Biden who has accused him of sexual assault, told Megyn Kelly in a new interview that she wishes the former vice president would end his bid for presidency.
“I wish he would,” said Reade when asked if she wanted Biden, the apparent Democratic presidential nominee, to withdraw. “But he won’t. But I wish he would. That’s how I feel emotionally.”
Reade’s interview with Kelly was her first on-camera appearance since Biden publicly denied her accusation that he forced herself on her in 1993, kissing her without consent and digitally penetrating her.
“I’m saying unequivocally, it never, never happened,” Biden said in an interview last Friday with MSNBC’s Mika Brezinski.
Kelly, the former Fox News and NBC anchor, released the pre-taped interview with Reade in snippets on social media throughout Thursday afternoon and evening.
“His campaign is taking this position that they want all women to be able to speak safely. I have not experienced that,” said Reade, who added that Biden should be “campaigning on character.”
Reade also told Kelly that she would “absolutely” answer questions about her allegations under oath and subject herself to cross examination in a similar fashion to Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s first accuser, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford. Reade, however, stopped short of pledging to undergo a polygraph test — unless Biden did so himself.
“I’m not a criminal. Joe Biden should take the polygraph,” said Reade. “What kind of precedent does that set for survivors of violence? Does that mean they’re presumed guilty and we all have to take polygraphs? So I will take one if Joe Biden takes one — but I am not a criminal.”
The Tribune in San Luis Obispo, Calif., reported Thursday that it had obtained a court document showing that Reade told her ex-husband in 1996 that she was sexually harassed while working for Biden. This is the first public record confirming she made such an allegation at the time, albeit one that does not include mention of Biden committing harassment or her more recent claim of sexual assault.
In the 1996 declaration, Reade’s then husband, Theodore Dronen, wrote that Reade once told him of “a problem she was having at work regarding sexual harassment, in U.S. Senator Joe Biden’s office” and that she “eventually struck a deal with the chief of staff of the Senator’s office and left her position.”
Biden’s campaign manager at the time, Ted Kaufman, denied that Reade had ever approached him with such allegations, or struck a deal regarding them.
“I have consistently said what is the truth here — that she never came to me,” Kaufman said in a statement released to the paper. “I do not remember her, and had she come to me in any of these circumstances, I would remember her. But I do not, because she did not.”
The Biden campaign itself declined to comment on the Tribune’s story, though they released a new statement regarding Reade’s claims.
“An inescapable fact in the case of these false allegations is that more and more inconsistencies keep emerging,” Kate Bettingfield, Biden’s deputy campaign manager, said in the emailed statement to the press.
“Every day, more and more inconsistencies arise,” Bettingfield continued. “Women must receive the benefit of the doubt. They must be able to come forward and share their stories without fear of retribution or harm — and we all have a responsibility to ensure that. At the same time, we can never sacrifice the truth. And the truth is that these allegations are false and that the material that has been presented to back them up, under scrutiny, keeps proving their falsity."
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