Tara Reade Says Her Joe Biden Senate Complaint Does Not Contain Sexual Assault, Harassment Allegations

Tara Reade, the ex-Senate staffer who alleged that Joe Biden sexually assaulted her in 1993, acknowledged in an Associated Press interview conducted on Friday that she did not explicitly accuse the former vice president of sexual assault or harassment in a limited report she filed. Reade later characterized the AP story, which was published Saturday, as "false" in a tweet.

Reade responded this week to additional transcripts and notes from interviews she did with the AP in 2019, in which she admitted to "chickening out" of filing an official complaint that actually alleged explicit sexual misconduct of any kind. The AP noted that Reade did not raise allegations of sexual assault against Biden until this year, when he became the presumptive Democratic nominee for president.

The former Senate staffer conceded to the AP Friday that even if any record of her official complaint does surface, it "would not corroborate her assault allegations because she chose not to detail them at the time."

"I remember talking about him wanting me to serve drinks because he liked my legs and thought I was pretty and it made me uncomfortable," Reade earlier told the AP of her having filed a limited report with a congressional personnel office.

She said she does not have a copy of the Senate report, and Biden has insisted he's not aware that any complaint exists against him.

"I know that I was too scared to write about the sexual assault," Reade told the AP Friday, insisting that she did file an "intake form" at the Senate personnel office. She said the supposed documentation would include her contact information and general complaints against Biden, but nothing specifically about sexual assault or harassment.

However, in a Saturday afternoon tweet, Reade later rebuked the AP's story, saying flatly: "This is false."

This is false. https://t.co/w4yXGI1DQm

— Tara Reade 🦋 (@ReadeAlexandra) May 2, 2020

Biden and his campaign have repeatedly denied Reade's allegation that the then-Delaware senator put his hand up her skirt and penetrated her with his fingers 27 years ago. The former vice president told MSNBC Friday "this never happened" and called on the Senate and the National Archives to release her complaint if one exists.

Newsweek reached out Saturday to representatives of Biden as well as Reade for a comment on this story.

Reade participated in several 2019 interviews in which she described "chickening out" of previously filing any official record of sexual assault against Biden. She cited "retaliation" as one factor behind her reluctance to do so.

A recently uncovered Larry King Live segment from August 11, 1993 purported to show Reade's mother telling CNN that her daughter did not make the accusations public at the time because "she chose not to out of respect for [Biden]."

Reade was one of eight women who came forward last year alleging Biden subjected them to uncomfortable touching and shows of affection during his Senate tenure. But she did not go so far as to accuse him of sexual assault or harassment until this year.

Speaking with Newsweek in March, Reade said her primary purpose in escalating the allegations was to push back against "powerful men."

The AP noted Friday that it declined to publish details of her 2019 interviews because reporters were unable to corroborate her accusations, citing several contradictions in her statements.

Updated 4:24 PM ET, to include Reade's tweet responding to the AP report.

joe biden tara reade complaint
Tara Reade, the ex-Senate staffer who now alleges Joe Biden sexually assaulted her in 1993, acknowledged Friday that she did not explicitly accuse Biden of sexual assault or harassment in previous filings and interviews prior to this year, only that she was made to feel "uncomfortable." Sean Rayford / Stringer/Getty Images