As Tara Reade’s allegations against Joe Biden continue to (finally) make their way through the press, we are having to talk a lot about sexual harassment and assault allegations in politics. While most on the right want to make this a referendum on the treatment of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, several on the left — including mainstream media reporters, anchors, and pundits- – want to use this as an opportunity to bring up the myriad allegations against President Donald Trump.
The idea behind this new level of side-stepping is that Trump has never had to answer for the allegations made against him. Many following this path would argue that Biden/Kavanaugh is not an apples-to-apples comparison, but Biden/Trump is. And in terms of the job, yes, they are both fighting for the same office (one defending it and one aiming for it).
However, that’s about where the comparison stops. The Tara Reade allegation made such waves in conservative media because it offered two things that the accusations by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford did not. The first was abuse of authority, as Biden was Reade’s boss in 1993, when the alleged sexual assault happened. The second is corroboration, where multiple people have confirmed that somewhere around the time of the alleged assault, Reade told them about it. Not only could Dr. Blasey Ford not get anyone to corroborate her story, they could not even corroborate that such a party where she was assaulted happened or that Kavanaugh was even there.
Looking at the specific allegation against Biden, though, does make one think of Trump. He was caught on tape talking about grabbing women in the same area where Reade alleges Biden groped and penetrated her. There are multiple women who have made some sort of claim of sexual harassment or sexual assault against Trump.
But those allegations have been a part of Trump’s story as long as he’s been in public life. The affairs, the less-than-stellar treatment of women, and even these allegations have all been out in the open. To try to use these allegations as a means of defending Biden is intellectually dishonest, because where everyone loves to jump on every story about Trump’s history, it took weeks of raising the issue regarding Biden very loudly for the media to even attempt to dismiss it, much less treat it like a news story. The very act of ignoring it is what has made it so much more revolting than a standard accusation.
In an era where every woman does, in fact, have a right to be heard (but not a right to be outright believed from the get-go), effectively silencing Reade — which the media has done by not even inviting her on to their networks — makes zero sense. And while I certainly get the urge to point out that Trump has been accused of sexual assault many more times than Biden has, that does not excuse Biden from being questioned. It is also pointless to say that it’s time to bring all these women forward and demand Trump answer for each of these. He has answered those questions multiple times. Granted, he does so with flat denials and even aggressive responses and attacks on their character, but it isn’t as though the media straight-up ignored those allegations like they did the one allegation against Biden.
Trump’s behavior toward women is not a secret. It is well-known and, at least on some level, it is already baked into a lot of people’s calculations when it comes to whether or not they will support him. Trump has been hit with these allegations since before he was even the nominee for President, and they come up again and again. Biden wasn’t questioned about a single allegation despite weeks of television appearances, and it took Mika Brzezinski of all people to question him the hardest.
This is little more than deflection and it doesn’t address the two biggest issues of Reade’s allegations: the seriousness of the accusation and the corroborations that make it seem credible. You don’t have to think that Reade’s allegations are automatically true (I, for example, think they are too politically timed and very out of character for Biden), but you are ignorant or dishonest if you do not see the hypocrisy with which Democrats and the media have handled them so far.