Yesterday, a woman named Tara Reade appeared on a podcast with former Paste contributor Katie Halper to discuss an incident that happened while she was working as a staff assistant for Joe Biden in 1993. This was not the first time Reade came forward—she told part of her story last year after Lucy Flores accused Biden of using his power to touch her inappropriately. At the time, Reade was smeared as a pro-Russian agent due to remarks she had written in a now-deleted Medium post. Reade has come forward again, and this time, in her interview with Halper, she went into specific detail about Biden’s alleged assault. You can listen to the audio here, and you can read below for Reade’s account, which has been transcribed on Reddit. Content warning: The text below contains graphic descriptions of sexual assault.
[A superior] 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 um 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 um 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.”
Halper then asked her if she wanted to say the other thing Biden had said to her in the moment, and Reade continued:
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 um it’s the thing that kind of stayed with me over the years. But he said, um. When he had me against the wall after he had done- after I pulled away and he said, “Hey” you know “Come on, I heard you liked me.” And I um 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.
Listen to the full preview clip here:
Reade took her accusations to Time’s Up, a legal defense fund which has supported dozens of women who have accused famous men of sexual assault, including the women who came out against Harvey Weinstein. As The Intercept reports, after initial interest, Time’s Up told Reade that they couldn’t help her because Biden was a candidate for federal office and it would endanger their status as a nonprofit.