Warning: This article contains sexually explicit content.
The woman who claims Joe Biden reached under her skirt in 1993 has slammed Hillary Clinton after the former first lady gave her endorsement to the presumptive 2020 nominee during a town hall Tuesday.
"I voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016. I voted for her in the primary. I'm a lifelong Democrat,” Tara Reade, a former entry-level staffer for Biden when he served as Delaware senator, said in an interview Tuesday with Fox News.
“But yet, what I see now is someone enabling a sexual predator and it was my former boss, Joe Biden, who raped me.”
Reade claims that Biden not only reached under her skirt but penetrated her with his fingers in a 1993 encounter in a Capitol Hill corridor.
While the Biden campaign has denied the allegation, the former vice president has not personally addressed it. Some Biden supporters have dismissed Reade’s claim as unfounded. But new details have emerged in recent days that are causing at least some who were quick to overlook the claim to take a second look.
As the former Democratic nominee’s endorsement does not come as much of a shock, it comes as Biden looks to bolster his support among women as he faces allegations from at least seven other women who claim that he has made them feel uncomfortable by touching them over years.
“Hillary Clinton has a history of enabling powerful men to cover up their sexual predatory behaviors and their inappropriate sexual misconduct,” Reade said. “We don't need that for this country. We don't need that for our new generation coming up that wants institutional rape culture to change."
Reade’s claims were first reported in an article published in a Northern California newspaper last year before Biden announced his candidacy against the backdrop of the #MeToo movement.
In her late 20s at the time, Reade claimed that Biden made her feel uncomfortable by touching her several times over the nine months that she worked for him.
She said he would often touch her on the neck. Reade claimed that she tried to share her concerns with superiors at the time. But looking to protect the senator, she said they told her to say nothing.
Reade also claimed that her hours were reduced after she refused to serve drinks at an event, adding that she was led to believe through conversations with other staffers that Biden liked her legs.
She stated that she felt pushed out and left Biden’s office in August 1993. At the time, a confidant of Reade told The Union that Reade relayed the story about Biden’s actions after the events occurred.
Although Reade’s claim received little attention during the Democratic Primary, it has gained more coverage in the mainstream media in recent weeks.
In a late March interview, Reade claimed that in the spring or summer of 1993, she was instructed to meet Biden in a semi-secluded corridor to deliver a duffel bag. When she did, she claimed that Biden pushed her up against a wall, reached under her skirt and penetrated her with his fingers.
After resisting Biden’s advancement, she claimed that the then-senator said: “Aw man, I heard you liked me.” Reade accused Biden of then telling her: "You're nothing to me."
The Biden campaign outright denies the allegations. A statement from the campaign stresses that the candidate has “dedicated his public life to changing the culture and the laws around violence against women.”
“He authored and fought for the passage and reauthorization of the landmark Violence Against Women Act,” the campaign asserts. “He firmly believes that women have a right to be heard — and heard respectfully. Such claims should also be diligently reviewed by an independent press. What is clear about this claim: It is untrue. This absolutely did not happen.”
In April, several mainstream news outlets investigated the claims and published reports on the matter. While The New York Times, a left-leaning publication, spoke to over two dozen people that worked with Biden in the early 1990s, it reports that none of them were able to corroborate the details of Reade’s claims. The New York Times concluded that there was “no pattern of sexual misconduct."
The Washington Post interviewed more than six former Biden staffers and people whom Reade told about the incident. The chief of staff and deputy chief of staff for Biden’s office at the time told The Washington Post they had no recollection or memory of such a complaint.
But anonymously, a friend and cousin of Reade confirmed to the newspaper that they were told of Biden’s actions by Reade after the incident.
This week, Business Insider published two on-the-record conversations with Reade’s friends who say they remember Reade telling them in the 1990s about the actions of the senator.
"This happened, and I know it did because I remember talking about it," Reade’s next-door neighbor during the 1990s, Lynda LaCasse, told Business Insider.
Lorraine Sanchez, a friend who worked with Reade in the office of a California state senator during the mid-1990s, told the outlet that she remembers Reade complaining about how her former boss in Washington sexually harassed her.
On April 24, the Intercept reported that Reade's mother had called into the "Larry King Live" show on CNN on Aug. 11, 1993, during a segment titled “Washington: The Cruelest City on Earth?”
“I’m wondering what a staffer would do besides go to the press in Washington?” Reade’s mother said during the call. “My daughter has just left there, after working for a prominent senator, and could not get through with her problems at all, and the only thing she could have done was go to the press, and she chose not to do it out of respect for him.”
Reade told The Washington Post that she filed a complaint with a congressional human resources office but could not remember the specific name. She said her complaint dealt with the alleged harassment, not the alleged sexual assault in the corridor.
The Washington Post was unable to find any record of the complaint but reported that Reade said she never received a copy.
Although Biden’s official records from his 36 years serving in the Senate were donated to his alma mater, the University of Delaware, they are sealed from the public. Reade is now calling for the release of Biden’s Senate records.
"I'm calling for the release of the documents being held by the University of Delaware that contain Biden's staff personnel records because I believe it will have my complaint form, as well as my separation letter and other documents," Reade told Fox News. "Maybe if other staffers that have tried to file complaints would come to light. Why are they under seal? And why won't they be released to the public?"
Several potential vice presidential running mates, including Stacy Abrams, Kamala Harris and Amy Klobuchar, have praised Biden when asked about Reade’s allegations, citing the claim made in The New York Times article that there was “no pattern of sexual misconduct.”
However, at least one staunch Democrat and Biden supporter, actress and activist Alyssa Milano, seems to be changing her tune on the issue in light of “new developments.”
Earlier this month, Milano was criticized by Reade for using “quite different” talking points in response to allegations against Biden than she did for the 2018 allegations against then-Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
“I’m aware of the new developments in Tara Reade’s accusation against Joe Biden,” Milano said in a tweet Tuesday. “I want Tara, like every other survivor, to have the space to be heard and seen without being used as fodder. I hear and see you, Tara. #MeToo.”