WASHINGTON — A woman who accused Joe Biden during the 2020 US presidential race of sexual assault appeared Tuesday in Moscow, where she said she was asking President Vladimir Putin for Russian citizenship.
Tara Reade, who worked in Biden’s congressional office for a short period in 1993, said she wanted to stay in Russia after a Republican lawmaker told her she was in physical danger.
Reade, 59, said in a streamed interview with the Sputnik media group that she had arrived in Russia as a vacationer.
However, she said, “When I got off the plane in Moscow, for the first time in a very long time I felt safe, and I felt heard and felt respected.”
Reade sparked headlines in early 2020 by claiming that then-senator Biden sexually assaulted her in a Capitol Hill corridor in August 1993, when she was 29.
Her accusation came just as Biden was ramping up his campaign against incumbent president Donald Trump, who himself has faced accusations of sexual abuse and rape.
Biden categorically denied her claim.
“It is not true. I’m saying unequivocally it never, never happened,” he said.
Reade said she filed a complaint after the alleged incident, but no record of it has been found.
But a 1996 court document records her ex-husband mentioning that she had complained of sexual harassment while working in Biden’s office.
It is not clear if her allegations have ever been formally investigated.
Reade, who called herself a geopolitical analyst, said in the Sputnik interview that after making her allegations public in 2020, she was threatened with prison, her life was threatened, and she was called a Russian agent.
Sitting alongside Maria Butina, a Russian lawmaker who was arrested and imprisoned in Washington in 2018 as an alleged spy, Reade told the interviewer she has “always loved Russia.”
“I do not see Russia as an enemy nor do many of my fellow American citizens,” she said.
She had one “large” request.
“I’d like to apply for citizenship in Russia, from the president of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin,” she said.
“I do promise to be a good citizen,” she said, adding that she also wants to hold onto her US citizenship.