Updated May 7, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Tara Reade calls on Biden to drop out in rare on-camera interview

Tara Reade, a former Senate staffer who has accused Joe Biden of sexually assaulting her in 1993, called on the presumptive Democratic nominee to "step forward and be held accountable" in an excerpt of an interview with Megyn Kelly.

Why it matters: This is Reade's first on-camera interview since Biden unequivocally denied the allegations on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" last week. Top Democrats have since said they stand behind Biden.

What she's saying: "You and I were there, Joe Biden. Please step forward and be held accountable. You should not be running on character for the president of the United States."

  • "His campaign is taking this position that they want all women to speak safely. I have not experienced that."
  • "It’s been stunning, actually, how some of his surrogates, with the blue checks, have been saying really horrible things about me and to me on social media. He hasn’t himself but there’s a measure of hypocrisy."
  • "All my social media's been hacked. All my personal information's been dragged through. Every person that maybe has a gripe against me — an ex-boyfriend, an ex-landlord, whatever it is — has been able to have a platform except me, talking about things that have nothing to do with 1993."

Asked whether Biden should drop out, Reade told Kelly: "I wish he would. But he won't. But I wish he would. That's how I feel emotionally." She added that it's "a little late" for an apology.

  • In a second excerpt from the interview, Reade said she would "absolutely" testify under oath and be cross-examined, and that she would be willing to take a polygraph test if Biden did as well.

The big picture: Biden has asked the secretary of the Senate to release any documents pertaining to an alleged sexual harassment complaint that Reade says she filed in 1993. The office said it had been advised by the Senate's legal counsel that it "has no discretion to disclose" any information pertaining to Reade because of confidentiality requirements under federal law.

  • Reade is now represented by Wigdor LLP, a New York law firm. "It is inevitable that partisan politics will lead people to attack our firm and Mr. Wigdor specifically, particularly given his support of Donald Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign," the firm wrote in a release.

Go deeper ... Timeline: Tara Reade's sexual assault allegations against Joe Biden

Editor's note: This story has been corrected to note that this is Reade's first on-camera interview since Biden's public denial on May 1. She previously did an on-camera interview with Hill.tv on March 26.

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