Tara Reade’s mother may have called in to the Larry King Show to discuss problems her daughter had experienced while working for “a prominent senator,” the Intercept reported on Friday. Reade has accused former Vice-President Joe Biden, the Democratic Party’s presumptive presidential nominee, of sexually assaulting her when she worked for his Senate office. The Intercept report, which includes a partial transcript of the call in question, provides new corroborative evidence for Reade’s story.
In the call, a woman asks King, “what a staffer would do besides go to the press in Washington?” Her daughter, she added, “has just left there, after working for a prominent senator, and could not get through with her problems at all, and the only thing she could have done was go to the press, and she chose not to do it out of respect for him.”
Though the Intercept story doesn’t confirm that the Larry King caller was indeed Reade’s mother, some biographical details do match up. The caller and Reade’s mother, who died in 2016, lived in San Luis Obispo County in August 1993, and Reade would have just left Biden’s office around the time of the call. Reade told the Intercept in previous interviews that her mother had called into the Larry King Show, though she couldn’t recall the date.
Hours after the Intercept published its report, the conservative Media Research Group published a clip of the episode in question; Reade confirmed to Holly Otterbein of Politico that she could hear her mother’s voice.
Reade has said that in 1993, Biden pushed her up against a wall in the Senate complex, kissed her, and then digitally penetrated her underneath her skirt. In 2019, she told reporters that the former vice president had touched her neck and ran his fingers through her hair on several occasions, which made her one of over a half dozen women to say that Biden had kissed or touched them in ways that made them uncomfortable.
Through representatives, Biden has consistently denied assaulting Reade, and it is generally difficult for journalists to prove that a sexual assault definitively occurred. Deficiencies in the criminal-justice system and the fear and stigma associated with public identification as a victim of sexual abuse can also prevent a person from reporting an attack to the police, let alone the press. But key aspects of Reade’s account — namely, that she told friends and relatives about the incident — have proven true. The New York Times previously confirmed that Reade told a friend about the attack when it allegedly occurred. “Another friend and a brother of Ms. Reade’s said she told them over the years about a traumatic sexual incident involving Mr. Biden,” the Times reported.
The Washington Post confirmed another Reade claim: that her professional responsibilities changed around the time of the alleged assault. Reade initially oversaw internships in Biden’s Senate office. But two former interns “recalled that Reade abruptly stopped overseeing them in April — just a few weeks after the interns arrived — but neither was aware of the circumstances that led to her departure,” the Post found.
This post has been updated as new information became available.