Joe Biden is starting to feel the pressure to personally respond to the sexual assault allegations of Tara Reade. While loyalists and liberal hypocrites are defending him, her story continues to gain credibility as more witnesses have come forward. In addition to countless photos of Joe Biden acting inappropriately with women and young girls, a small number of women have come forward to the media to say that Biden acted inappropriately with them. These allegations, combined with the photographic evidence we’ve seen, establishes a pattern of behavior that, at the very least, shows Biden is a man who typically takes liberties with women he meets, and perhaps on one occasion, crossed the line toward criminal sexual assault. There are common themes with these stories, particularly that Biden’s position as a senator or as the vice president made it difficult for these women to speak at the time of their experiences or even later. How many women have remained silent out of fear? Who can know? But, Biden has a lot to answer for that the media (and, quite frankly, his primary opponents) refused to make him answer when these women came forward a year ago. Let’s recall them and their stories.
8. Ally Coll, a former Democratic staffer
During the 2008 election cycle, Ally Coll was helping run a reception for about 50 people. After Biden arrived she was introduced to him, and, according to her, Biden “leaned in, squeezed her shoulders and delivered a compliment about her smile, holding her ‘for a beat too long.’”
“There’s been a lack of understanding about the way that power can turn something that might seem innocuous into something that can make somebody feel uncomfortable,” said Coll.
7. Amy Lappos, a former congressional aide
Amy Lappos, a Democratic political activist claimed that during a 2009 political fundraiser in Greenwich, Connecticut for U.S. Rep. Jim Himes then-Vice President Joe Biden touched her inappropriately.
“It wasn’t sexual, but he did grab me by the head,” Lappos told the Hartford Courant last year. “He put his hand around my neck and pulled me in to rub noses with me. When he was pulling me in, I thought he was going to kiss me on the mouth.”
“I never filed a complaint, to be honest, because he was the vice president. I was a nobody,” Lappos explained. “There’s absolutely a line of decency. There’s a line of respect. Crossing that line is not grandfatherly. It’s not cultural. It’s not affection. It’s sexism or misogyny.”
6. Caitlyn Caruso, a college student and sexual assault survivor
Four years ago, at the age of 19, Caitlyn Caruso, a survivor of sexual assault, spoke at an event on sexual assault at the University of Las Vegas, which Joe Biden was also attending. Caruso says that after sharing her experience with sexual assault, Biden “rested his hand on her thigh — even as she squirmed in her seat to show her discomfort—and hugged her ‘just a little bit too long’.”
“It doesn’t even really cross your mind that such a person would dare perpetuate harm like that,” she said. “These are supposed to be people you can trust.”
5. D. J. Hill, a writer
Ms. Hill met Biden at a 2012 fundraiser in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and during a photo-op with the then-vice president he put his hand on her shoulder and starting lowering it down her back, making her feel “very uncomfortable.” Hill’s husband noticed Biden’s maneuver and protected his wife by putting his own hand on Biden’s shoulder and telling a joke. Ms. Hill didn’t say anything at the time and doesn’t know what his intent was, or if he was aware of her discomfort.
“Only he knows his intent,” she told the New York Times. “But norms are changing now, she said, and “if something makes you feel uncomfortable, you have to feel able to say it.”
4. Vail Kohnert-Yount, a former White House intern
Vail Kohnert-Yount was a White House intern and says that in the spring of 2013 while trying to exit the basement of the West Wing she was asked to step aside to allow for Joe Biden to enter. After moving out of the way, Biden approached her to shake her hand and introduce himself. During this encounter, she says Biden “put his hand on the back of my head and pressed his forehead to my forehead,” and called her “a pretty girl.” She says she was shocked by the incident, describing it as “the kind of inappropriate behavior that makes many women feel uncomfortable and unequal in the workplace.”
3. Lucy Flores, a former Nevada state assemblywoman
Lucy Flores wrote an essay describing her experience with Joe Biden at a 2014 campaign rally, during which she says Biden touched her inappropriately and kissed her on the head.
“Just before the speeches, we were ushered to the side of the stage where we were lined up by order of introduction. As I was taking deep breaths and preparing myself to make my case to the crowd, I felt two hands on my shoulders. I froze. Why is the vice-president of the United States touching me?
“I felt him get closer to me from behind. He leaned further in and inhaled my hair. I was mortified. I thought to myself, “I didn’t wash my hair today and the vice-president of the United States is smelling it. And also, what in the actual fuck? Why is the vice-president of the United States smelling my hair?” He proceeded to plant a big slow kiss on the back of my head. My brain couldn’t process what was happening. I was embarrassed. I was shocked. I was confused.”
Flores said she “wanted nothing more” than to get Biden away from her. When her name was called, she says she was “never happier to get on stage in front of an audience.”
2. Sofie Karasek, a sexual assault survivor
In 2016, Sofie Karasek was one of 50 sexual assault survivors who appeared on stage with Lady Gaga at the Oscars. Joe Biden had introduced Lady Gaga on stage. After the ceremony, Karasek shared with Biden a story about a college student who committed suicide after being sexually assaulted, and Biden, according to the Washington Post, “responded by clasping her hands and leaning down to place his forehead against hers.” The moment was photographed and went viral, but it was actually an uncomfortable moment for Karasek. She says it felt awkward and uncomfortable having their faces mere inches apart and she didn’t know how to respond to it, but she described it as Biden “crossing the boundary into her personal space at a sensitive moment.”
“He emphasized that he wants to connect with people and, of course, that’s important. But again, all of our interactions and friendships are a two-way street. … Too often it doesn’t matter how the woman feels about it or they just assume that they’re fine with it,” she said.
1. Tara Reade, a former Biden Senate staffer
Tara Reade’s allegations are perhaps the first to gain traction in the media. In 2019, she said that Biden used to touch her inappropriately while she was a staffer in his Senate office in 1993. “He used to put his hand on my shoulder and run his finger up my neck,” Reade said. “I would just kind of freeze and wait for him to stop doing that.” She has since expanded on those allegations, claiming in March 2020 that Biden sexually assaulted her by pushing her up against the wall, kissing her and sliding his hand up her shirt and up her skirt. Reade attempted to file a claim, but Biden was ultimately protected by loyalists on his staff. The credibility of her claims was boosted by the release of a clip of the Larry King Live show during which her mother called in anonymously asking the panel for advice on how to handle a situation with her daughter and a prominent U.S. Senator.
Matt Margolis is the author of Trumping Obama: How President Trump Saved Us From Barack Obama’s Legacy and the bestselling book The Worst President in History: The Legacy of Barack Obama. You can follow Matt on Twitter @MattMargolis