Tara Reade, who was all but canceled nearly a year ago, is suddenly back in the public eye, and for that she may have New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo to thank.
With Mr. Cuomo on the ropes over sexual harassment allegations by former aides, Ms. Reade’s accusation that President Biden sexually assaulted her while she worked on his Senate staff is coming back to haunt Democrats fighting to squelch the party’s latest MeToo moment.
As far as Ms. Reade is concerned, the parallels between the Biden and Cuomo situations may be why Democratic leaders in the New York state Legislature are stiff-arming calls by liberals and Republicans to impeach the two-term governor.
“I think, too, it has to do with the fact that if they investigate Cuomo, they’re going to have to investigate Biden. And I’m here,” Ms. Reade said in a Zoom-style discussion Tuesday with Green Party leaders Howie Hawkins and Angela Walker.
“And I said that I would go under oath if they would do a congressional investigation into Biden,” Ms. Reade said. “So I think that there’s enough talk going on with the power elites, and I also think that they’re arguing, because Cuomo’s people are probably saying to Biden’s people, ‘Hey, you all circled the wagons for Biden, now circle the wagon for me.’”
Mr. Cuomo has denied the harassment claims made by a half-dozen women, most of them former staffers. After Ms. Reade’s accusation about a 1993 encounter went public last year, Mr. Biden emphatically rejected it, saying the incident “never, never happened.”
Even so, critics were quick to revisit the past after the president sympathized Tuesday with the Cuomo accusers, telling ABC’s George Stephanopoulos that “a woman should be presumed telling the truth and should not be scapegoated and become victimized by her coming forward.”
Mr. Biden also said Mr. Cuomo should resign if the investigation reveals that he committed harassment. “I think that he’ll probably end up being prosecuted, too,” he said.
“It takes a lot of courage to come forward,” Mr. Biden said in the interview. “So the presumption is they should be taken seriously. And it should be investigated. And that’s what’s underway now.”
Cue the “what about Tara Reade” comments on social media. Former Democratic strategist Peter Daou tweeted that Mr. Biden “has more than a half dozen accusations of sexual misconduct and numerous videos of him violating the physical boundaries of women and girls.”
Conservative columnist Tammy Bruce chided Mr. Stephanopoulos, a former Clinton administration aide, for failing to follow up with “the natural next question … Tara Reade, Lucy Flores, etc.,” referring to the former Nevada state legislator who accused Mr. Biden of smelling her hair and kissing her on the back of the head.
Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, both New York Democrats, called last week on Mr. Cuomo to resign over “multiple, credible sexual harassment and misconduct allegations.” The governor has called such comments “reckless and dangerous.”
Taking her shot was Clinton accuser Juanita Broaddrick, who tweeted: “The Biden White House not happy about Schumer calling on Cuomo to resign … maybe they think it will encourage more Biden sexual assault victims to join Tara Reade.”
There’s another parallel. Lindsey Boylan, the former Cuomo aide who was his first public accuser, took a hit to her reputation shortly after she went public Dec. 13 with the leak of internal documents about her travel expenses and her treatment of Black employees.
The story disappeared for a couple of months, but it turns out Ms. Boylan had a second act. Her Feb. 24 account in Medium giving more detail about the alleged harassment, published with Mr. Cuomo embroiled in a nursing home scandal, wound up spurring more women to come forward with allegations.
Similarly, Ms. Reade largely dropped out of sight after being accused of faking her academic credentials, using a phony name and being what a former landlord called a “manipulative, deceptive user” in a Politico article two weeks after she made her May 1 claim against Mr. Biden.
“Someone accused [Ms. Boylan] of trying to get attention. Nobody wants to be notorious. We’re not famous,” said Ms. Reade. “We’re notorious.”
She’s trying to clear her name. Her attorney, Moshe “Jeff” Admon of Seattle, said he has asked five media outlets to make changes to their stories after providing them with “indisputable factual information.”
None has agreed to make clarifications. “By digging in their heels and failing to undertake any clarifications, they perpetuate the stain on Tara’s reputation,” Mr. Admon said in an email.
A different outlet did pick up on the story. The Intercept ran a detailed March 14 article saying Ms. Reade and her daughter “received judicially sealed name changes and new Social Security numbers” under a domestic violence program that led to confusion with her college transcript.
“The question of whether she graduated from the college where she later served on the faculty is complicated,” said The Intercept’s Ryan Grim. “The documents do make it clear, however, that the story Reade told of her graduation — that it was handled in a unique, private way due to her domestic violence-related legal name change — is consistent with the records in her file.”
Green Party activists on Thursday accused Big Tech of suppressing efforts to promote their YouTube interview with Ms. Reade, saying that the livestream discussion Tuesday, titled “Rape Culture, Capitalism and Patriarchy,” was “censored.”
The Greens said in a press release that “every single social media post was ‘throttled,’ so that the posts were kept hidden from our followers on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.”
“Worse, during the live stream itself, we attempted to post a link to T.R.’s website into the chat stream with viewers, and the link was denied. It was stunning to see the censorship in real time,” said the Green group.
The Washington Times has reached out to Facebook, Twitter and Google for comment.
Ms. Reade, who released a book in October called “Left Out: When the Truth Doesn’t Fit In,” said she is trying to work on behalf of sexual assault survivors by transforming her “rage into outrage,” despite being viewed as “the bad guy.”
“I’m still kind of the villain, the bad guy, for coming forward, the bad person for coming forward,” Ms. Reade said. “What was it, Biden’s saving the soul of America? Well, he didn’t save mine.”