Sexual Assault Allegations Against Joe Biden Need to be Scrutinized

Opinion

Former+Senate+staffer+Tara+Reade+has+made+sexual+assault+allegations+against+potential+presidential+nominee+Joe+Biden.+Though+her+claims+are+serious%2C+many+of+her+allegations+seem+not+to+line+up+with+other+facts.

Photo By Gage Skidmore

Former Senate staffer Tara Reade has made sexual assault allegations against potential presidential nominee Joe Biden. Though her claims are serious, many of her allegations seem not to line up with other facts.

By Jake Schlanger, Reporter

Currently, the presumptive nominee for the Democratic Party in the 2020 presidential race, Joe Biden, is facing new sexual assault allegations made by former Senate staffer Tara Reade. These are not the first accusations of misconduct that Biden has faced. Even so, Reade’s new claims are much more severe than past allegations levied against the former vice president.

Reade alleges that Biden inappropriately touched her without her consent while she was a staffer. These accusations, like all claims, must be taken seriously. However, scrutiny must be applied to determine the truth of the matter. There are multiple reasons to doubt Reade’s account of what happened.

The best place to begin when examining Reade’s claims is the timeline. Reade says that these events transpired in 1993, although she is unsure of the month and day. She is also unable to recall where or what time it happened, according to The New York Times’ investigation into the matter.

There is also a lack of confirmation when it comes to the allegations. Melissa Lefko, who was a staffer for Biden’s Senate office, told The New York Times that she was unable to recall hearing about any sexual assault claims against the senator. She stated that the office was always known for its support of women and that Biden was “a good guy.” Furthermore, over 24 different staffers who worked with Biden stated that Reade didn’t talk to them about the allegations.

Only a handful of people were able to remember Reade telling them that Biden sexually assaulted her. Even with these corroborators, though, there are inconsistencies. Reade’s brother initially stated in an interview with The Washington Post that she said Biden only “behaved inappropriately by touching her neck and shoulders.” He later changed his account of the events, stating in a text message to The Washington Post that he did recall Reade saying that Biden had put his hand “under her clothes.” 

These inaccuracies are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the shaky evidence. Reade stated to The New York Times that she had filed a complaint with the Senate against Biden. However, the Times wasn’t able to track down these records, and Reade didn’t have a copy of them on hand. When Reade finally filed a police report nearly 30 years after the alleged assault, she did not name Biden in her account.

After the alleged events took place, Reade left Washington and pursued a creative career in art. She said this was because of “the reckless imperialism of America.” Reade wrote about her departure from politics in a 2018 Medium post, which was later deleted. In the article, she called out American xenophobia against Russia and detailed her love for the nation. Reade referred to Russian President Vladimir Putin as a “compassionate, caring, visionary leader” and said she saw Russia “with eyes of love.” This overwhelming support of Russia and Putin gives Reade a significant motive to hurt the Biden campaign, given Russia’s opposition to Biden becoming president.

This isn’t the first time that Reade made allegations against Biden. Last year, when seven other women accused Biden of inappropriate hugging and kissing, Reade joined in with similar accusations. One must wonder why she didn’t bring up her current and more severe allegations then, as opposed to a year later. Furthermore, Reade did not seem to have any issue with Biden himself, only the working environment, going so far as to say that “it’s not him. It’s the people around him who keep covering for him” during an interview on her 2019 allegations.

Sometime after Reade made her allegations, new evidence emerged in the form of a phone call made to the Larry King Show by Reade’s mother. Supporters of Reade say that this phone call is the proof many have been asking for when it comes to the allegations. But these people ignore the fact that Reade’s mother doesn’t detail what kind of trouble she had. It is entirely possible that Reade’s mother was referring to Biden inappropriately touching Reade and not the more serious allegations that she has recently made.

So far, Reade is the only one to allege that Biden did anything more serious than kissing or hugging other people. This is not to say that what Biden did to the other women was okay. However, there is a clear difference between kissing a person and assaulting them in the way Reade described. Outside of allegations made in 2019, Biden has consistently been an advocate for women. He played a significant role in passing the Violence Against Women Act, and numerous employees of his Senate office stated that Biden actively worked to create a safe and healthy working environment for women.

This issue is complex and not clear cut. Most of the evidence out there is circumstantial and can seem insignificant. There is some reason to believe Reade’s claim, but there is even more reason to doubt the accusations. When the stakes are this high, we cannot simply take Reade’s words at face value. In order to reveal the truth, the case must be scrutinized further.