In late March, Tara Reade, a former staffer for Joe Biden during his days in the Senate, accused Biden of sexually assaulting her in 1993. In recent weeks, evidence has come to light that shows her claim is non-credible. Or at least, it would in a sane world. But that hasn’t stopped Donald Trump’s acolytes from trying to use Reade as a cudgel against the Democrats. That has a former Republican staffer and prominent never-Trumper falling down and laughing. She points out the obvious–given that Trump himself faces numerous credible accusations of sexual assault, his cronies have no moral authority to use Reade as a weapon.
There had been serious questions about Reade’s credibility from the start. For instance, late on the night of March 24, mere hours before she sat down with Katie Halper to go public with her claims, she edited an old post on her Medium blog about her time in Washington to hew more closely to her new claims. What is more, she did so just over a week after tweeting a slightly edited version of her original story. That story merely accused Biden of touching her in a way that made her feel uncomfortable.
Additionally, while Reade told The New York Times that she filed a complaint with the Senate personnel office, she later told The Associated Press that she “chickened out” when she went to submit a request for required counseling–the first step in the process at the time. According to NBC News’ Mike Memoli, under the rules in place at the time, the process would have ended then and there–meaning that, in all likelihood, no complaint was ever filed.
But that hasn’t dissuaded high-ranking members of Team Trump from trying to seize on Reade’s claims. For instance, when Biden took to Twitter to raise awareness about sexual assault, Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale decided to troll him.
While chatting with Judge Jeanine Pirro earlier this month, First Daughter-in-Law Lara Trump wondered why Biden wouldn’t allow a probe of his Senate papers at the University of Delaware.
When Amanda Carpenter, a former speechwriter for Jim DeMint and the former communications chief for Ted Cruz, saw these and other statements from Trump loyalists, she concluded that neither they nor anyone else on Team Trump had any moral authority to say anything about Reade. In a column for The Bulwark, the never-Trump online magazine helmed by Republican pundits Charlie Sykes and Bill Kristol, Carpenter argued that no one on Team Trump has a shred of moral authority to use Reade as a weapon against Democrats.
Carpenter notes that a condition of employment for either the Trump White House or the Trump campaign is a willingness to “snuff out” the 23 women who have come forward to say Trump assaulted them. She believes that when Trump surrogates “put on masks of righteous indignation” about Biden, it’s something “a whole lot smuttier” than hypocrisy. As a result, when Trumpkins talk about Reade, they’re not doing so from a position of moral authority. Rather, Carpenter says, they see her as “just another woman to be used.”
While Team Trump has tried to use the Reade case as an example of double standards by the Democrats, Carpenter points out that argument simply doesn’t hold up coming from the Trump camp.
Just try applying any of these attacks to their boss. Do they think Trump’s accusers should be believed? Where are Trump’s tax records and what about all those non-disclosure agreements? It goes on and on.
Carpenter then points out the biggest reason Team Trump has no moral authority to weaponize Reade–his most diehard supporters “have never been interested in applying any standards to Trump at all.” Indeed, they are of a piece with their boss, whose only “defenses” when confronted with these allegations are, among other things, to claim that they are politically motivated lies and that they weren’t attractive enough for him in any event.
All things considered, Carpenter believes it is long past time for “a good-faith debate about how to properly investigate claims of sexual misconduct.” However, she rightly concludes that Trump and friends have no authority whatsoever to demand a place at the table for that debate.
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