Matt Gaetz rejects calls for resignation amid sexual misconduct allegations
Florida congressman has publicly denied any wrongdoing
Tara Reade, the former Senate staffer who alleged last year that Joe Biden sexually assaulted her in 1993, scolded The New York Times Tuesday for putting her claims in the same category as the controversy surrounding Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla.
On Monday, the Times published a “conversation” between columnists Gail Collins and Bret Stephens about various allegations against Gaetz that have surfaced in recent weeks, including of sexual relations with a minor, making payments for sex, and potential sex trafficking.
During a discussion of political “sex scandals” over the years, the columnists pivoted to the claims Reade made last year about then-candidate Joe Biden.
“If a little-known state official or a low-achieving congressman like Matt Gaetz gets caught up in a scandal, it’s easy enough to toss him out of office. But what about … Joe Biden?” Collins asked.
“Well, Tara Reade’s allegations against Joe Biden never got far,” Stephens responded. “Partly, I think, it’s because he had already sewn up the nomination by the time she came forward. But partly it was also because there was a dearth of corroboration to her charges and because she backed out at the last minute from an interview with Chris Wallace.”
“And then the country moved on,” Collins said.
Stephens then added, “With Gaetz, by contrast, all the allegations against him seem entirely in character. Same with Eliot Spitzer or Andrew Cuomo: When the claims against both New York governors emerged, you kinda thought, ‘It figures.'”
Tara Reade. Credit: Darin Hayes Photography
Reade, who wrote the recent memoir “Left Out: When the Truth Doesn’t Fit In” about her experience coming forward with her assault allegation, blasted the Times for describing the alleged assault by Biden as a “sex scandal.”
“Minimizing sexual assault and harassment allegations to ‘sex scandals’ the whole opinion is misogynistic and really demonstrates rape culture being propped [up] by a major media outlet,” Reade told Fox News. “It harms all survivors and any chance of real change.”
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She later wrote on Twitter, “I am not a ‘conspiracy theory’ or part of a ‘sex scandal.’ I was a staffer working for then-Senator Joe Biden. I was sexually harassed & assaulted by him. I will not be intimidated or silenced by being target practice for major media any longer. Sexual misconduct is non-partisan.”
Reade was one of eight women who came forward in 2019 to accuse the then-Democratic candidate of inappropriate touching. A year later, Reade revealed her sexual assault claim on “The Katie Halper Show.” Both Biden and his campaign repeatedly denied her allegations.
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