"I wouldn't vote for me if I believed Tara Reade," Joe Biden said Thursday. The reference, of course, is to allegations from former staffer Reade that he sexually assaulted her in the 1990s. Now the PBS News Hour is out with a report for which it interviewed 74 former Biden staffers, 62 of whom were women and 20 of whom worked at the same time as Reade. None corroborated her story or said they experienced sexual harassment. But, generally, they said "Reade should be heard, and acknowledged that their experiences do not disprove her accusation," per PBS. Some highlights:
- "In separate and in-depth interviews, women who worked for Biden generally did not want to weigh in with certainty on whether they believed Reade’s allegation was true. But they all said it is at odds with their experience."
- One interviewee, Ben Savage, says his desk was next to Reade's in the Biden mailroom. He said she was fired for poor job performance (they processed constituents' mail) and not, as she has alleged, because she filed a complaint against Biden. “Of all the people who held that position, she’s the only one during my time there who couldn’t necessarily keep up or who found it frustrating,” said Savage.
- Mary Byrne, who worked in the Senate in the 1990s but not on Biden's staff, says he was known for being touchy-feely with people when speaking to them. “We knew that about Biden,” Byrne said. “He was always massaging somebody’s shoulders. But never anything more than that. There was no vibe about him.”
- "Staffers agree it was not in Biden’s nature to gauge social signals about whether someone wanted to be hugged or touched," per the story. "Many said they learned that he might do so without warning, though most saw it as an endearing quality that wasn’t sexual in nature."
- From the right: Twitchy takes note of skepticism from Trump supporters about the PBS initiative. A sample tweet: "Remember that time PBS did that piece interviewing all the law clerks for Kavanaugh?"
- Read the full PBS story.
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