New York Times columnist Michelle Goldberg appears to be taking the sexual-misconduct allegations made against former Vice President Joe Biden more seriously after writing a piece that seemed to throw heavy skepticism against the former Senate staffer who came forward.
Lynda LaCasse, a former next-door neighbor of Reade's and a self-described supporter of Biden, spoke on the record with Rich McHugh of Business Insider about past conversations with Reade about the alleged assault.
Another past acquaintance, Lorraine Sanchez, a former colleague, also recalled past conversations with Reade about sexual harassment, though she said did not recall Reade referring to Biden by name.
McHugh's reporting appeared to take Goldberg by surprise.
"This is the most persuasive corroborating evidence that has come out so far. What a nightmare," Goldberg reacted on Twitter.
However, Goldberg didn't seem to believe it was a nightmare when she authored a piece on April 13 titled, "What to Do With Tara Reade’s Allegation Against Joe Biden?"
Its sub-headline read, "A sexual assault accusation against the presumptive Democratic nominee is being used to troll the #MeToo movement."
The columnist began the piece by asserting it would be "easier to know what to do" with Reade's allegations if they were "more solid" or "less."
"Since Reade made her latest accusation, people on both the left and the right have been demanding, with a mix of genuine outrage and gotcha glee, that the Democratic Party live up to its #MeToo commitments and #BelieveTaraReade," Goldberg wrote earlier this month. "Must Democrats, for the sake of consistency, regard their presumptive presidential nominee as a sexual predator?"
Goldberg, also an MSNBC contributor, acknowledged that Biden was a "weak candidate" already and she "wouldn’t be unhappy if the Democratic Party were forced, by some last-minute emergency, to replace him, maybe with one of the Democratic governors who has shined in response to the coronavirus crisis."
However, she continued, "absent other accusations, that is not going to happen. Reade seems almost engineered in a lab to inspire skepticism in mainstream Democrats, both because her story keeps changing and because of her bizarre public worship of President Vladimir Putin of Russia." That was in reference to tweets and a piece Reade previously wrote that were complementary to the Russian leader.
The liberal writer stressed that Reade "could well be telling the truth" since it's plausible that victims can change their stories over time and that "plenty of people with wacky political views are victims of sexual assault."
"No one, looking at what’s been reported about Reade and Biden, can claim to have more than a hunch about what happened, which is why, I suspect, a lot of mainstream feminists haven’t said much about it," Goldberg went on to say. "There have been a number of sneering columns accusing liberal feminists of hypocrisy for not championing Reade as fervently as they did Christine Blasey Ford... The truth is, if Blasey had been so inconsistent in telling her story, feminists might still have believed her, but they likely wouldn’t have made her a cause célèbre, and Democrats on Capitol Hill never would have invited her to testify publicly. Advocates for victims of sexual harassment and assault would worry that using such an ambiguous case as a political weapon would undermine their cause."
Blasey Ford was the prominent accuser of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh during his Senate confirmation in 2018. She said the Trump appointee had assaulted her in high school, a claim he denied.
Goldberg concluded her piece by defending her "feminist" colleagues who had yet to champion Reade's claims.
"Personally, I’m just left with doubt: doubt about Biden and doubt about the charges against him. But, the one thing I have little doubt about is the bad faith of those using this strange, sad story to hector feminists into pretending to a certainty they have no reason to feel," she wrote.
Biden himself has not addressed the claims from Reade -- but his campaign vehemently has denied the allegations. Biden Deputy Campaign Manager Kate Bedingfield said in a statement: "What is clear about this claim: it is untrue. This absolutely did not happen."
Reade on Monday confirmed to Fox News the accuracy of how her conversations with LaCasse and Sanchez were described and expressed her deep gratitude toward them for coming forward.
"I am touched that they would step forward knowing the targeted harassment I have received since I made my history with Joe Biden public. I appreciate their candor and bravery," Reade said in a statement.
LaCasse and Sanchez could be cited as more evidence supporting Reade’s allegation.
Earlier, a friend of Reade's claimed to have been told about the alleged assault at the time it happened but chose to remain anonymous, and her brother, Collin Moulton, recalled Reade describing an incident with Biden involving a "gym bag." The friend and Moulton both gave interviews to the Intercept.
LaCasse told Business Insider: "I remember her saying, here was this person that she was working for and she idolized him. And he kind of put her up against a wall. And he put his hand up her skirt and he put his fingers inside her. She felt like she was assaulted, and she really didn't feel there was anything she could do."
LaCasse said Reade was "upset" when she told her about the allegation and "the more she talked about it, the more she started crying." She said she remembered urging Reade to file a police report but did not recall specific details from the alleged incident, such as the location or remarks Biden allegedly made to Reade.
"I don't remember all the details," LaCasse told Business Insider. "I remember the skirt. I remember the fingers. I remember she was devastated."
LaCasse, a retired staffer of San Luis Obispo General Hospital, said she lived in the same apartment complex as Reade in Morro Bay, Calif. She recalled how the two of them had talked about "violent stories" they've experienced, which was when Reade told her "about the senator that she had worked for and he put his hand up her skirt."
"I personally am a Democrat, a very strong Democrat," LaCasse said. "I'm for Biden, regardless. But still, I have to come out and say this."
Reade's former neighbor said she "volunteered" to come forward, saying, "If this was me, I would want somebody to stand up for me. It takes a lot of guts to do what she's doing."
"I have to support her just because that's what happened," LaCasse continued. "We need to stand up and tell the truth."
Sanchez, who was working as a staffer for California State Senator Jack O'Connell, said she mentored and worked with Reade between 1994 and 1996.
Sanchez said she did not recall Reade referring to Biden by name but remembered "reassuring her that nothing like that would ever happen to her here in our office, that she was in a safe place, free from any sexual harassment."
"It takes great courage and strength to come forward," Sanchez said in praising Reade. "It's much easier to keep silent. However, I also understand the duty we have as women to share our story regardless of who the perpetrator may be."