Actress Susan Sarandon joined a growing number of Sen. Bernie Sanders supporters Saturday in citing a resurfaced “Larry King Live” video as potential corroborating evidence of a sexual assault claim made by a former staffer against former Vice President Joe Biden.
Many Sanders supporters have been disappointed by their candidate’s decision to end his campaign and endorse Biden — claiming Biden is an “establishment” Democrat who lacks a commitment to the progressive agenda that Sanders espoused.
In their tweets, some have suggested that the claim against Biden supports their view that the former vice president is not worthy of the Democratic presidential nomination.
BERNIE AIDES ERUPT OVER DEVELOPMENT IN BIDEN SEXUAL ASSAULT CLAIM AS DNC STAYS MUM
Sarandon retweeted at least three Twitter posts regarding the 1993 video clip, in which a caller to the King show, later confirmed to have been the mother of Biden accuser Tara Reade, asks King for advice regarding her daughter — whom the caller claims had “problems” with a “prominent senator” for whom the daughter worked.
Sarandon has been a vocal Sanders surrogate at least since the 2016 campaign. She said in a 2017 interview she couldn’t bring herself to vote for Hillary Clinton in 2016 and has slammed Biden recently for not being progressive enough.
Reade, who worked for Biden briefly in the early 1990s when he was a U.S.senator representing Delaware, claimed last month he sexually assaulted her in 1993, around the time of the video, and said she told her mother about the alleged assault immediately and her mother told her to file a police report, according to The New York Times.
Instead, she told The Times, she complained to three other Biden staffers and was ignored. She claims she was later told she “wasn’t a good fit” for the job before being asked to leave.
Reade told Fox News on Friday that her mother, who is now deceased, had called in to “Larry King Live” and alluded to her daughter’s experience on Capitol Hill, without specifically claiming to King that it was a sexual assault.
Actress Susan Sarandon arrives at the Time 100 gala celebrating the magazine’s naming of the 100 most influential people in the world for the past year in New York April 29, 2014. (Reuters)
The Intercept on Friday first reported the transcript of a broadcast from Aug. 11, 1993, of a woman from San Luis Obispo County, Calif., calling in to the show about her daughter’s experience on Capitol Hill.
“San Luis Obispo, California, hello,” King begins.
“Yes, hello. I’m wondering what a staffer would do besides go to the press in Washington? My daughter has just left there, after working for a prominent senator, and could not get through with her problems at all, and the only thing she could have done was go to the press, and she chose not to do it out of respect for him,” the caller says.
“In other words, she had a story to tell but, out of respect for the person she worked for, she didn’t tell it?” King inquires.
“That’s true,” the woman responds before King cuts away to a panel to discuss her claim.
Sanders backers react
After news of the 1993 clip circulated last week, several former supporters of Sanders — in addition to Sarandon — posted their reactions.
Former Sanders senior adviser Winnie Wong was among others who also tweeted in support of Reade.
“The video of Tara Reade’s late mother calling into Larry King to blow the whistle about about [sic] Tara’s sexual assault is being met with relative silence from a cadre of progressives right now and I want you all to know that I see you. We all do,” she wrote.
Briahna Joy Gray, former Sanders press secretary, tweeted, “Progressives didn’t make this happen. Corporate Democrats chose Biden,” adding, “It’s a good time to note that Bernie’s on the ballot.”
Still, the mother’s interview doesn’t specifically corroborate Reade’s latest allegations of assault and could be referring more to the allegations she raised last year. In a 2019 interview, Reade laid more blame with Biden’s staffers for “bullying her” than with Biden himself, The Washington Post reported.
Last year, when multiple women emerged claiming inappropriate touching by Biden, Reade claimed Biden put his hands on her shoulders and rubbed his fingers up and down her neck.
Last month, she told a far more graphic story.
Reade said in a March interview that in 1993, she was asked by a more senior member of Biden’s staff to bring the then-senator his gym bag near the Capitol building, which led to the alleged encounter.
She said when she met him he pushed her against a wall.
“His hands were on me and underneath my clothes, and he went down my skirt and then up inside it and he penetrated me with his fingers and he was kissing me at the same time and he was saying some things to me,” she said.
Biden’s campaign has vehemently denied the accusations, which others have also called into question because Reade said she doesn’t remember where the assault happened and some details in her story have changed over time.
“Women have a right to tell their story, and reporters have an obligation to rigorously vet those claims. We encourage them to do so, because these accusations are false,” Kate Bedingfield, deputy campaign manager and communications director for the Biden campaign, said in a statement to Fox News last month.
Marianne Baker, a former executive assistant to then-Senator Biden — who Reade said she told about the accusation –called the account “clearly false” in a statement last month.
“For nearly 20 years, I worked as Senator Biden’s executive assistant and supervised dozens of employees who reported to me. I took very seriously my duties with respect to human resources, following the direction of a Senator whose insistence on a professional workplace was embedded in our culture,” Baker, who worked for Biden from 1982 to 2000, said.
“In all my years working for Senator Biden, I never once witnessed, or heard of, or received, any reports of inappropriate conduct, period — not from Ms. Reade, not from anyone,” she continued. “I have absolutely no knowledge or memory of Ms. Reade’s accounting of events, which would have left a searing impression on me as a woman professional, and as a manager.”
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She added: “These clearly false allegations are in complete contradiction to both the inner workings of our Senate office and to the man I know and worked so closely with for almost two decades.”
Another former Biden aide, Dennis Toner, who Reade said she also complained to, told The Times, “It’s just so preposterous that Senator Biden would be faced with these allegations. I don’t remember her. I don’t remember this conversation. And I would remember this conversation.”
Ted Kaufman, another former top aide to Biden who Reade said she complained, to told the Times, “I did not know her. She did not come to me. If she had, I would have remembered her.”
Fox News’ Joseph A. Wulfsohn and Brooke Singman contributed to this report.