A woman who accused Joe Biden during the 2020 presidential race of sexual assault appeared Tuesday in Moscow and said she was asking President Vladimir Putin for Russian citizenship.
Tara Reade, who worked in now-President 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 an interview streamed by the Sputnik media group — a Russian press outlet — that she’d 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.”
“I’m still kind of in a daze a bit but I feel very good,” she said. “I feel very surrounded by protection and safety.”
Reade sparked headlines in early 2020 by claiming in a podcast that Mr. Biden, who was a senator at the time, sexually assaulted her in a Capitol Hill corridor in August 1993, when she was 29.
Her accusation came just as Mr. Biden was ramping up his campaign against incumbent President Donald Trump, who himself has faced accusations of sexual abuse and rape.
Mr. 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.
A 1996 court document says her ex-husband mentioned that she’d complained of sexual harassment while working in Mr. Biden’s office.
It’s 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, who was arrested and imprisoned in Washington in July 2018 as an alleged spy for Russia and released in October 2019 and deported, 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, adding that 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 U.S. citizenship.
Referring to Butina, who’s now a member of Russia’s Parliament, Reade said, “I just really so appreciate Maria and everyone who’s been giving me [protection] at a time when it’s been very difficult to know if I’m safe or not.
“I just didn’t want to walk home and walk into a cage or be killed, which is basically my two choices.”