Former veep and presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden just hosted what he called a “women’s town hall.” But he somehow managed to not mention the woman who’s accused him of sexual assault.
Tara Reade, Biden’s accuser, has said that when she was a Senate aide, Biden assaulted her in a hallway on Capitol Hill. Even as evidence has begun to pile up indicating that Reade’s accusation is at least worth investigating further, Biden has shied away from addressing it directly.
His campaign has denied the accusation.
Instead of taking the opportunity to clear the air during his “women’s town hall,” held online Tuesday afternoon, Biden doled out advice to women who might be suffering at the hands of their abusers while in coronavirus lockdown, called for equal pay, and accepted Hillary Clinton’s endorsement.
“Think of what it would mean if we had a real president, not just somebody who plays one on TV but somebody who gets up every morning worried about the people that he’s responsible for leading during this crisis,” Clinton said during the live-streamed event.
Calls have been mounting in recent days for Biden to release his Senate records, which are under seal at the University of Delaware. The university had pledged to release them two years after Biden’s last day in elected office. He ended his run as vice president in January of 2017, and the records were not released in January of 2019, as the university said they’d be.
Those files, if the public could see them, could contain Reade’s personnel records, “intra-office memoranda,” or some other evidence as to whether Reade’s accusation is true.
Meanwhile, the evidence that Reade’s accusation merits serious consideration is mounting. Last week, The Intercept uncovered a recorded call to CNN’s "Larry King Live" show from 1993. Reade had said that her mother had called into the show around the time that the assault occurred to ask what Reade might do, other than go to the press, but could not recall exactly when the episode featuring her mom’s call aired.
“I’m wondering what a staffer would do besides go to the press in Washington?” the caller states. “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.”
The caller wasn’t named on the show, but said she was from San Luis Obispo, California, which is where Reade’s mother lived at the time.
On Monday, Business Insider spoke to a woman who was Reade’s neighbor in the mid-90s, when the assault is alleged to have taken place.
"This happened, and I know it did because I remember talking about it," the woman, Lynda LaCasse, told Business Insider.
Instead of addressing the accusations, though, Biden gave out advice to women who are living with the abusers. He plugged the number for the National Domestic Violence Hotline.
“I want victims to know that we’re there for them,” Biden said. “It might be hard to make that call when you are essentially trapped in your home because of the stay-at-home orders that exist, but you can text and you can chat online. So please reach out for help.”
Cover: James Corden chats with Joe Biden Melanie C from his garage on the "Late Late Show With James Corden" on the CBS Television Network. Photo is a screen grab. (Photo by CBS via Getty Images)