[guest post by Dana]
This comes after the publication of a report saying that Tara Reade’s mother had made an anonymous call to Larry King’s show in 1993, and without offering specifics, referenced her daughter’s experience while she worked as a staffer in Joe Biden’s Senate office. Reade confirmed that it was her mother’s voice on the call.
From today’s report:
In March, when a former aide to Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden accused the candidate of sexually assaulting her in 1993, two people came forward to say that the woman, Tara Reade, had told them of the incident shortly after it allegedly occurred — her brother, Collin Moulton, and a friend who asked to remain anonymous for fear of retribution.
Now two more sources have come forward to corroborate certain details about Reade’s claims. One of them — a former neighbor of Reade’s — has told Insider for the first time, on the record, that Reade disclosed details about the alleged assault to her in the mid-1990s.
“This happened, and I know it did because I remember talking about it,” Lynda LaCasse, who lived next door to Reade in the mid-1990s, told Insider.
The other source, Lorraine Sanchez, who worked with Reade in the office of a California state senator in the mid-1990s, told Insider that she recalls Reade complaining at the time that her former boss in Washington DC had sexually harassed her, and that she had been fired after raising concerns.
LaCasse, who is a Democrat and still plans to vote for Biden, says that she believed Reade’s account when she first heard it, and that “we need to stand up and tell the truth”:
LaCasse told Insider that in 1995 or 1996, Reade told her she had been assaulted by Biden. “I remember her saying, here was this person that she was working for and she idolized him,” LaCasse said. “And he kind of put her up against a wall. And he put his hand up her skirt and he put his fingers inside her. She felt like she was assaulted, and she really didn’t feel there was anything she could do.”
LaCasse said that she remembers Reade getting emotional as she told the story. “She was crying,” she said. “She was upset. And the more she talked about it, the more she started crying. I remember saying that she needed to file a police report.” LaCasse said she does not recall whether Reade supplied any other details, like the location of the alleged assault or anything Biden may have said.
“I don’t remember all the details,” LaCasse said. “I remember the skirt. I remember the fingers. I remember she was devastated.”
After she left Washington, DC, Reade worked for California State Senator Jack O’Connell. Lorraine Sanchez, a former legislative staffer in O’Connell’s office, mentored Reade and worked alongside her from 1994 through 1996. Sanchez told Insider that Reade complained at the time about being mistreated by her former employer.
“[Reade said] she had been sexually harassed by her former boss while she was in DC,” Sanchez said, “and as a result of her voicing her concerns to her supervisors, she was let go, fired.”
Sanchez said she does not recall if Reade offered details about the sort of harassment she allegedly suffered, or if she named Biden. “What I do remember,” Sanchez said, “is reassuring her that nothing like that would ever happen to her here in our office, that she was in a safe place, free from any sexual harassment.” Reade said she never experienced harassment from any other employer she had during her time in Washington, and that the employer Sanchez recalls her complaining about was Biden.
Joe Biden has not been directly asked about Tara Reade’s claims, as he should be. However, when Business Insider made the request to do just that, the campaign ignored the request. They did, however, ask to speak on the phone to the publication, but only off the record. The request was turned down. Kate Bedingfield, Biden’s communications director, maintains that the accusations are false.
As a reminder, this is what Reade claims Joe Biden did to her:
Reade has said that in the spring or summer of 1993, she was told to meet Biden in a semi-private corridor to deliver a duffel bag. There, she said, Biden pushed her up against a wall, reached under her skirt, and penetrated her with his fingers. When she resisted his advances, Reade said, Biden expressed annoyance and said, “Aw man, I heard you liked me.” Then, she said, he pointed a finger at her and said, “You’re nothing to me.” After that, she said, he shook her by the shoulders and said, “You’re OK, you’re fine,” before walking away.
Unsurprisingly, Nancy Pelosi endorsed Joe Biden for president on the same day as the report about Reade’s neighbor confirming that she had been told in detail about Biden sexually assaulting Reade was published:
For these and other reasons, I am proud to endorse Joe Biden for President, a leader who is the personification of hope and courage, values authenticity and integrity.
With that, it’s surprising to see a progressive Democratic political strategist and adviser to Hillary Clinton push for Biden’s withdrawal from the presidential race. This even before today’s report came out:
DIFFICULT THREAD — #BIDEN SHOULD WITHDRAW
1. I respect the will of the voters.
2. But new information has emerged supporting #TaraReade’s account of being sexually assaulted by #JoeBiden.
3. Credible rape accusations are disqualifying or we have NO moral standards.
4. Defeating Trump is NOT OPTIONAL.
5. To avoid potential catastrophe in Nov., #Biden should withdraw.
6. #Warren, #Harris, #Klobuchar, #Buttigieg, #Castro, etc. could replace Biden.
7. #Bernie can restart his campaign.
8. We can reboot the primary and give voters a choice.
9. This is the ethical position AND the smarter strategy to beat Trump.
10. We lose ALL moral authority if we embrace “the lesser of two accused rapists.”
11. Polls show other Dem candidates can win.
PRINCIPLES MATTER. WE CAN BEAT TRUMP AND PROTECT OUR VALUES.
I made the same arguments about #Franken and #Kavanaugh.
If #MeToo means anything, it CANNOT BE APPLIED ON A PARTISAN BASIS.
And for the record, I also think the same standard should apply to Bill Clinton’s accusers.
A couple of things: #MeToo loses all credibility it if ignores Tara Reade and her allegations. Because Trump is sitting in the White House, in spite of any number of accusations of sexual harassment and/or assault against him, does not give anyone else a free pass. Further, both sides of the aisle have already ceded any moral high ground, and the stain of guilt is on the voters’ hands. Neither the Democrats nor the Republicans have any moral standing. That disappeared with Bill Clinton, and with Donald Trump. Nonetheless, Biden should be asked directly about the accusations in full public view. Because, aside from the possible legal consequences, voters deserve to know exactly who and what they are voting for. Even though, as seen with LaCasse, it may not matter just how ugly, vile, and possibly illegal their nominee’s actions have been. The reality is, that in these polarized days, tribe trumps morals and ethics every damn time. And how sad is that.