After The New York Times published an Op-Ed by a woman who said she believed Tara Reade’s assertion that Joe Biden had sexually assaulted her—but she would vote for him anyway, Biden was asked in an interview what he thought about that. He responded:
“If she believes Tara Reade, she shouldn’t vote for me. If I believed Tara Reade, I wouldn’t vote for me.”
Here’s Why I Feel Compelled to Return to the Issue Now
This may well be a very close election, in which every vote counts. Thinking of Biden’s words cited above, I decided that if I can help anyone who has doubts about whether Biden committed such a crime—and those doubts might lead them either to waver or stay home—I want to offer what is to me some more convincing evidence in his favor.
I’m further motivated because The New York Times just reported on the extensive planned Republican efforts to keep as many likely Democratic voters from successfully casting their ballots as they can (using the largely discredited excuse of voter fraud).
Thus, no vote should be lost when the individual voter’s participation is so urgently important.
The disinformation campaign waged by the Trump organization is well under way. Lest you think they’ll shy away from this topic simply because of the 25 women who have charged Trump with sexual misconduct, his own videotaped bragging about having done so, and the fact that Michael Cohen, Trump’s former lawyer, remains in jail in part for paying women to silence them about those charges, think again.
Remember when Trump debated Hillary, and he invited a number of Bill Clinton’s female accusers to accompany him? The words “distraction” and “deflection” are now frequently applied to trumpian behavior.
When I posted “Why I Believe Joe Biden Did Not Commit Sexual Assault” on May 2 and “The Allegations Against Biden: The Press Presses On,” on May 6, several people said (and probably many more thought) that I was rushing to judgment.
Could be, but I was so convinced by what I’d read, and so concerned that this issue would unfairly dominate the campaign—despite Trump’s abysmal record—that I felt it was worth taking an early stand, expressing my hope that the press wouldn’t go down every rabbit hole.
For now, I believe there’s been enough follow-through that most of the media recognizes this story doesn’t have the “legs” that appeared early on.
Perhaps some wariness set in when the second woman to come forth was quickly dismissed as a phony whose story was demonstrably untrue.
Now There Are These Investigation Results
PBS Newshour published a lengthy, detailed article after interviewing 74 former Biden staff members, 62 of them women, about Tara Reade’s charge.
The NewsHour writers say they sought to get these individuals’ sense of how he acted toward women over all those decades, what they thought of Reade’s allegations, and whether there had been a pattern of the behavior she alleged.
Of the interviewees, more than 20 had worked in Biden’s office during the less than one year Reade was there. Many of them didn’t remember her.
According to the NewsHour reporters:
“None said they had experienced sexual harassment, assault, or misconduct by Biden. All said they never heard any rumors or allegations of Biden engaging in sexual misconduct” until Reade’s recent charge.
“Overall, the people who spoke to the NewsHour described largely positive and gratifying experiences working for Biden, painting a portrait of someone who was ahead of his time in empowering women in the workplace.”
Some Salient Points:
*Ben Savage worked directly with Reade, who had served as a junior aide in Biden’s office for about nine months. Savage said Reade had been fired for poor performance, which he had seen directly, and not in retaliation against her alleged claim of sexual harassment (which she upped to sexual assault only recently).
*Former staff members cast doubt about Reade’s assertion that Biden had asked her to serve drinks at a fundraiser (which she’d at one point implied was related to her firing) for two reasons.
—First, there was an office policy banning most of his Senate staff from doing campaign work. “Never would have happened. We all knew there was a very hard line there,” said a staff assistant, Melissa Lefko, who served when Reade was there.
—Second, two male junior staff members said Biden specifically didn’t want women to serve beverages or do similarly stereotypical tasks, and had asked the young men to do them instead.
*Those interviewed also pointed out that the area in which Reade claimed the assault took place was a heavily trafficked locale in which there would have been “a high risk of being seen.”
*Female staff members who frequently worked alone with Biden in his small office “said he never made passes at them or behaved in other ways that suggested sexual impropriety.”
Elizabeth Alexander, a former aide in both the Senate and White House, said she’d accompanied Biden all over this country and the world, traveling alone with him. ”Never, ever, ever did I feel uncomfortable.”
It was a time when some members of the Senate were known to sexually harass young women. One staffer said:
“You got to know which senators you didn’t want to be on an elevator alone with. No one ever said Joe Biden was one of them.”
Of his habit of touching women, many said they gravitated to him as a kind of “comforter-in-chief,” and wanted an arm on their shoulder or a kiss on the cheek.
“Most saw it as an endearing quality that wasn’t sexual in nature…as an expression of empathy, as opposed to flirtation.”
But some expressed regret that they probably should have said something because such actions may have made others uncomfortable.
And since Biden has apologized for that behavior, saying he now understands it was inappropriate, it’s reasonable to assume he would have learned that lesson years earlier.
Concerning His Accuser…
Politico interviewed more than 12 people who had interactions with Reade. The picture they drew is disturbingly similar: manipulation, lying, turning against people who had helped her, including financially, as she was often in financial trouble.
According to the writer:
“Over the past decade, Reade has left a trail of aggrieved acquaintances in California’s Central Coast region who say they remember two things about her—she spoke favorably about her time working for Biden, and she left them feeling duped.”
One of the “aggrieved acquaintances” said:
“We are actually starting to find each other and put the pieces together because we saw her face on CNN. I thought to myself, ‘hey, I have a support group now. I think we are Alexandra/Tara survivors.’” (Reade has used several names at various times.)
She gave them all the impression that she’d spent years in Biden’s office, it was a high point in her life, and she’d helped write landmark legislation—not that she’d served for about nine months as a junior aide and had been fired for incompetence.
In my May 2 post, I referred to Lynn Summers, who was forthright in interviews that Reade had manipulated, lied, and stolen money from her. Reade’s attorney has since sent Hummer a “cease and desist” letter.
Hummer has hired an attorney, who told Politico:
“We’ll be more than happy to provide actual physical evidence that backs up Ms. Hummer’s story. All Reade has is a lawyer trying to bully my client.”
In view of the above, I don’t expect the mainstream media to spend much more time on the Tara Reade accusation.
But that doesn’t mean the shameless Trump organization won’t keep trying to bring it up.
Trump’s younger son Eric is, right now, peddling a video of Biden with the family of a member of Congress he’s just sworn in. Biden leans over to kiss the head of the man’s young daughter, in full view of the family and cameras.
This is purportedly all the evidence you need to confirm that Joe Biden is a pedophile. Ridiculous? Of course. But we are living in surreal times.
I won’t be surprised if one or more women emerge in October with all kinds of unprovable charges. I just hope the press will do its due diligence thoroughly before even considering whether such charges merit public disclosure.
For example, automatically assuming that an old friend whom Reade called to refresh her memory years after she reportedly first told her of the event may not be worthy confirmation of her veracity.
As former prosecutor Michael Stern has observed, the corroborating friend must always rely on the accuser’s telling the truth.
Based on what we’ve learned to date, I believe a perversion of the much-needed #me-too movement has been made by a pathetic woman against an honorable man—at a time of enormous importance to our democracy.