Tara Reade calls for Biden to drop out of presidential race

Tara Reade, a former Senate staffer who has accused Joe BidenJoe BidenPrivacy, civil rights groups demand transparency from Amazon on election data breaches Facebook takes down Trump campaign ads tying refugees to coronavirus Trump crowd chants 'lock her up' about Omar as president warns of refugees in Minnesota MORE of sexual assault, says she hopes that he will end his campaign for the White House.

In her first televised interview since Biden publicly denied the allegations, Reade told journalist Megyn Kelly that she believes Biden should end his campaign.

“I wish he would, but he won’t,” Reade said. “But I wish he would. That’s how I feel emotionally.”

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Reade said she thinks it’s “a little late for an apology,” but that if she were able to confront Biden face-to-face she would tell him to “be accountable" for his actions.

“I want to say, you and I were there, Joe Biden. Please step forward and be held accountable,” Reade said. “You should not be running on character for president of the United States.”

Reade, who managed the intern program for Biden’s Senate office in 1993, alleged publicly in March that Biden had sexually assaulted her in an empty corridor on Capitol Hill. She previously had accused him of inappropriate touching.

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Biden denied the allegations in a statement and interview on MSNBC last week.

“They aren’t true,” Biden said of the allegations. “This never happened.”

Top Democrats have rallied behind Biden, saying they do not believe Reade’s allegations are true.

Biden has drawn attention to what he has described as “inconsistencies” in Reade’s story, pointing to her claims that she had complained about his behavior to three members of his Senate office. All three former staffers have gone on the record to say Reade never approached them about the issue.

Reade says she filed a complaint detailing the allegations of harassment against Biden with the Senate at the time. Biden has called on the National Archives and the secretary of the Senate to search and release any records they might have, but both have said they are not authorized to do so.

Meanwhile, Biden has declined to make his Senate records available for review. Those records are being held at the University of Delaware.

Reade’s brother and a former neighbor have both said that Reade told them the story of the alleged assault at the time.

A few Senate Democrats have said the allegations merit further investigation, but Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiTrump signs bill averting shutdown after brief funding lapse On The Money: 'One more serious try' on COVID relief yields progress but no deal | Trump tax bombshell shines light on IRS enforcement | Senate passes bill to avert shutdown hours before deadline 'One more serious try' on COVID-19 relief yields progress but no deal MORE (D-Calif.) and other top Democratic female leaders have said unequivocally that they do not believe Reade’s allegations.

“I’ve known Biden, he was the one that put me on the Judiciary Committee as the first woman back in, well 26 years ago and worked with him ever since on assault weapons and a lot of things,” Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinMeeting Trump Supreme Court pick a bridge too far for some Democrats This week: Senate kicks off Supreme Court fight Senate Democrats want to avoid Kavanaugh 2.0 MORE (D-Calif.) said Thursday. “And I have a great respect for his integrity, for his fidelity to his family his friends. And so these accusations are very disturbing because they do have an impact on an individual, and every indication I would have is that they would be false until I was shown otherwise.”

Asked again if she believes Reade, Feinstein responded: “No, I do not.”

Reade said in the interview broadcast Thursday that the media has dug through her past personal relationships and social media postings to accuse her of being a “Russian agent,” which she said had resulted in death threats.

“The whole thing with being called a Russian agent, that in particular, that incites people, I got a death threat from that because I was being called a traitor to America,” Reade said. “And these are serious things and his campaign is taking this position that they want all women to be able to speak safely. I have not been able to experience that.”

Reade said it has been “stunning” to see how little support she has received from Democrats and the news media.

“It’s been stunning, actually, how some of his surrogates with the blue checks, that are his surrogates, have been saying really horrible things about me and to me on social media,” she said. “[Biden] hasn’t himself but there’s a measure of hypocrisy with the campaign saying it’s been safe. It’s not been safe. All my social media has been hacked, all my personal information has been dragged through. Every person that has gripe against me, an ex-boyfriend, ex-landlord, whatever it is, has been able to have a platform rather than me. Talking about things that have nothing to do with 1993.”