A former aide to former Vice President Joe Biden, who is accusing the Democrats' presumptive presidential nominee of sexually assaulting her during the early 1990s when he was a senator, tells Fox News that not only will she not vote for Biden this November, but she will never vote in the general election again.
Tara Reade, who alleged the assault took place in the basement of a Capitol Hill office building in the spring of 1993, said in a statement to Fox News: "I will not ever vote in a national election again. Despite the fact I come from a family of Democrats. I worked for Leon Panetta, [California] State Sen. Jack O'Connell and Joe Biden. I worked hard for the Democratic Party as a young woman. It is obvious by the tremendous smears about me leveled by Biden campaign and supporters after I came forward about Biden and the complete lack of support from any Democrat that they care more about protecting Joe Biden than addressing the serious allegations by me and the other seven women who complained about his misconduct."
She continued, "Kamala Harris is my representative and I reached out to her for help. No response. Joe Biden sexually assaulted and harassed me. All the rest of political discussion is noise and an effort to distract from the serious lack of justice I experienced at his hands. Coming forward has been difficult and resulted in 1993 with the loss of my job and career. Coming forward last spring 2019 about the sexual harassment resulted with his supporters smearing me online. And now, again. So, no, I will not vote for Joe Biden."
Harris did not immediately respond to Fox News' requests for comment.
In a statement, Biden deputy campaign manager and communications director Kate Bedingfield said the former vice president has "dedicated his public life to changing the culture and the laws around violence against women," pointing to his work passing the Violence Against Women Act.
She said that "he firmly believes that women have a right to be heard — and heard respectfully," but added: "Such claims should also be diligently reviewed by an independent press."
Biden’s conduct towards women first came under scrutiny just before he announced his presidential campaign last spring. Eight women, including Reade, came forward with allegations that the former vice president made them feel uncomfortable with inappropriate physical displays of affection.
Biden acknowledged the complaints and promised to "be more mindful about respecting personal space in the future."
Reade, who was a staff assistant in Biden's office at the time, said she wasn't aware of any direct witnesses to the encounter.
She told The Associated Press she did raise accusations of sexual harassment, but not assault, against Biden in multiple meetings with her supervisors. She filed a police report in Washington this past Thursday saying she was the victim of a sexual assault by an unnamed person in 1993, a copy of which the AP obtained.
Reade's story first resurfaced in an article in The Intercept. Podcast host Katie Halper then interviewed Reade, who said that in 1993, a more senior member of Biden’s staff asked her to bring the then-senator his gym bag near the Capitol building, which led to the encounter in question.
"He greeted me, he remembered my name, and then we were alone. It was the strangest thing," Reade told Halper. "There was no like, exchange really. He just had me up against the wall."
Reade said she tried to share her story last year, but nobody listened to her.
She added: "If people want to know why women don’t come forward, that’s a good example of why."
Fox News’ Brooke Singman and The Associated Press contributed to this report.