In the 42-minute interview, Reade seemed to acknowledge that some of the details of her account may sound implausible — including her assertion that Biden assaulted her on a weekday in a Senate corridor — but maintained that her story was true and said the experience had changed her life. Biden, for whom Reade worked as a staff assistant for eight months, has denied her account.
“I don’t really care if people believe it or not,” she said. “I’ve had to live with it. And it is just one of those things that’s impacted and shattered my life.”
Reade’s description of the alleged assault largely mirrored what she has said in interviews with a number of outlets, including The Washington Post, over the past several weeks. She said it occurred on either the first floor or the basement level in the Capitol complex as she handed Biden a gym bag.
She said that Biden pinned her against a wall, put his hand up her dress and digitally penetrated her. She said that he grew angry when she resisted and that he then pulled away.
“He pointed his finger at me, and he said, ‘You’re nothing to me. You’re nothing,’ ” Reade said, estimating that the alleged incident lasted about three minutes.
The interview came as Biden’s allies have started pointing more directly to inconsistencies in Reade’s accounts and asking how some of her assertions have changed over time.
Biden has said he will not question her motives — saying that the assault did not occur but that all women should be allowed to publicly detail their allegations. Yet Kate Bedingfield, Biden’s deputy campaign manager, on Thursday night challenged several of Reade’s statements by saying that “more and more inconsistencies keep emerging.”
“The truth is that these allegations are false and that the material that has been presented to back them up, under scrutiny, keeps proving their falsity,” she said in a statement.
President Trump — who has been accused by more than a dozen women of groping, kissing or sexual assault and has been recorded on audio boasting about grabbing women between the legs — commented on the allegations Friday.
“I don’t know if it’s false or not,” he said on “Fox and Friends.” “Joe is going to have to prove whatever he has to prove or she has to prove it, but that’s a battle he has to fight.”
Reade first came forward publicly last year, offering details about what she described as harassment from Biden during her tenure in his Senate office. She said that he would touch her hair and neck and that she was told by others that he wanted her to serve drinks at a fundraiser because he thought she was pretty and had nice legs.
She said in the Friday interview that she was reprimanded by Marianne Baker, who was an executive assistant in the office and one of Reade’s direct bosses.
“She just said, ‘You know, if you want to get along here, you need to keep your head down and do what you’re told,’ ” Reade said. “She said, ‘You need to button up your blouses, you need to have longer skirts, you need to not look so sexy and noticeable.’ ”
Reade said she went to Baker with complaints about harassment in the office. Baker has adamantly denied that assertion in a statement released by Biden’s campaign.
In interviews last year about her harassment allegations, Reade described her interactions with Biden as not being intimidating.
“I wasn’t scared of him, that he was going to take me in a room or anything,” she told the Associated Press in a recently published interview that was conducted in April 2019. “It wasn’t that kind of vibe.”
A friend who last year spoke to a Vox reporter at Reade’s encouragement said that Biden “never tried to kiss her directly. He never went for one of those touches. It was one of those, ‘Sorry you took it that way.’ ”
But those descriptions changed this year after Reade for the first time accused Biden of assault. She said that she was not comfortable coming forward at the time, and her friend told Vox that she was following Reade’s wishes to not disclose the assault.
In the interview with Kelly, Reade also addressed her repeated praise of Biden, made as recently as 2017. “I’ve always been conflicted about Joe Biden,” she said.
“I didn’t want to talk badly about him,” she said. “And I wasn’t ready to tell my history with Joe Biden at that point at all.”
Reade also reflected on the difficulty she faced in coming forward — saying criticism of her may intimidate other women from telling their own stories — and she also referred to some other hardships, saying that to go to law school, “I took a lot of loans. I’m still in debt. Very deeply in debt.”
Kelly on Thursday posted several earlier clips from the interview, in which Reade called on Biden to withdraw from his presidential campaign and said that she would testify under oath but would not submit to a polygraph unless Biden did, as well.