Intertwined between the impeachment of Donald Trump and the coronavirus pandemic is a “bombshell” story that, until very recently, had gotten a good leaving alone by the national media. In case you missed it: Tara Reade has alleged that, in 1993, Sen. Joe Biden harassed her and eventually sexually assaulted her. Just imagine the media circus that would ensue if a woman made such an accusation against a prominent Republican!

To recap: In 1993, Reade worked for Biden. Reade was an attractive 29-year-old with a law degree. Biden was a sitting senator old enough to be her father. According to Reade, the “assault” (her word) was culmination of the type of crude male behavior we now classify as sexual harassment. Apparently, this sort of bad behavior by our congressmen was widespread. More on this in a minute.

One of the things that makes this story strange is it is Democrat on Democrat. Tara Reade is a liberal and says: “I will never ever support Trump. I am never voting Republican.” It is very surprising that a liberal D would come out against her party’s chosen nominee.

It is also strange that the media buried Reade’s story. In April of 2019, when Reade first came out, it was near the apex of the “#MeToo” movement. During this time, salacious charges like Reade’s generally led the news. So why didn’t Reade’s story make headlines? Was Joe Biden, out of a field of over 20 Democrats, already the media’s choice for our next president?

When Reade was asked why, after 25 years, she is now telling her story, she says it was the very idea that Biden might become president that motivated her to come forward. Apparently, Reade believed that her allegations would be sufficient to keep Biden off the ticket. But, instead, Reade was ignored. That changed in April of this year, when, during an interview with liberal podcast host Katie Halper, Reade added the assault charge to her story. Her graphic allegation of exactly what took place, on that warm summer day back in 1993, finally got peoples’ attention

I have no idea if Tara Reade is telling the truth. And, if she is, I am not sure what should be done about it today. I get very nervous when people make allegations involving sexual encounters/assaults that occurred many years ago. But Reade’s story is at least as believable as some of the well-publicized allegations made against other politicians. Her description of harassment includes Biden repeatedly “stroking her neck and running his fingers through the curls in her hair.” These claims are not just believable, these are Biden hallmarks! But the alleged sexual assault is a far more serious matter.

Reade says she filed a complaint about Biden’s harassment with Marianne Baker, Biden’s office manager. Today, Baker denies ever getting such a report. But, in the 1990s, it seems sexual abuse by congressmen was rampant and claims were routinely disappeared via the Office of Compliance. Remember the infamous congressional Hush Money Fund? In its Nov. 30, 2017 editorial, titled “The Taxpayer Hush Money Fund Protects Sex Abusers in Congress,” the Chicago Tribune described the environment Tara Reade faced:

“Instead of HR, claims are handled by the congressional Office of Compliance. It receives allegations of sexual harassment, salary discrimination and other workplace issues, and pays out settlements. Think of it as the Taxpayer Hush Money Fund. You pay, and the complaints go away. Those records aren’t subject to the federal Freedom of Information Act. The compliance office doesn’t disclose the names of congressmen or their aides who reach settlements with their accusers.”

According to the Office of Compliance, about $17 million in hush money was paid out to make bad behavior on the part of those elected to congress disappear. How very nice.

But unlike some other cases, Reade contemporaneously told friends and family that Biden had done something bad. What finally forced her story onto the front page was the “discovery” of an old CNN video from August 1993. (Strangely, it wasn’t CNN that discovered they had this video!) The short clip is from the Larry King show, during which a woman, apparently Reade’s mother, calls King asking for advice about her daughter’s situation. Here is what the caller said:

“My daughter has just left there (Washington), 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.”

Initially, YouTube tried to make the King video “disappear” but the genie was out and there was no way to stuff it back into the bottle. The media had to deal with Reade and here we are.

More strangeness: Biden’s campaign staff had to have been well aware of Reade’s claims for at least a year. So, when the do-do hit the fan, I would have expected an immediate, well-planned rebuttal. But Biden and his team blew it. How could it be they didn’t see this coming? Very strange.

Meanwhile, Reade noted that, during the last couple of months, Biden has done multiple television interviews, including with Chuck Todd, George Stephanopoulos and Anderson Cooper, during which there was not one question about her allegations! To which Reade says: “So that tells there may be a political agenda behind that (no questions) and that's gross. … I'm a survivor and I would like the question asked.” Seems reasonable to me!

And where is the outrage from the “#MeToo crowd”? Shouldn’t Nancy Pelosi be demanding an FBI investigation? What about congressional hearings? Why did Bernie Sanders sit on this story? Was there some deal that Bernie would keep quiet on the Reade “matter” if Biden didn’t bring up Bernie’s twisted writings in which he claimed women enjoy being raped? What about Warren? Why did she, too, remain silent? It is all very strange.

Randall Poulton is a columnist for The Republican Journal. He lives in Winterport.