Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, is doing his very best right now to pretend that there isn’t a credible account of sexual assault being lodged against him, and is continuing to campaign as if Tara Reade doesn’t exist. On Thursday, for example, he named a group of advisers to help him choose a running mate, which he has promised will be a woman. (Any woman! Just make sure it’s a woman!) But given that more and more people are calling on Biden to substantively address Reade’s claim that he sexually assaulted her in 1993, it’s incredibly tone-deaf that one of the advisers who will help choose a woman to be Biden’s running mate, as if we’re watching The Bachelor: VP Edition, is the noted sexist and long-time Biden buddy Chris Dodd.
The former senator from Connecticut, as many likely remember, has his own extremely troubling history with sexual assault allegations. As Vice noted, Dodd “was well known as Sen. Ted Kennedy’s (D-Mass.) wingman during the 1980s,” and had a “reputation as a party boy and a partner-in-nightlife-crime.”
Their partying included an incident in 1985, in which a waitress named Carla Gaviglio alleged that the two senators sexually assaulted her at the restaurant in D.C. where she worked. According to an account in GQ, which Gaviglio said was “full and accurate,” on that evening, Gaviglio was told that Dodd and Kennedy wanted to see her.
Here’s what allegedly happened next. From GQ:
As Gaviglio enters the room, the six-foot-two, 225-plus-pound Kennedy grabs the five-foot-three, 103-pound waitress and throws her on the table. She lands on her back, scattering crystal, plates and cutlery and the lit candles. Several glasses and a crystal candlestick are broken. Kennedy then picks her up from the table and throws her on Dodd, who is sprawled in a chair. With Gaviglio on Dodd’s lap, Kennedy jumps on top and begins rubbing his genital area against hers, supporting his weight on the arms of the chair. As he is doing this, Loh enters the room. She and Gaviglio both scream, drawing one or two dishwashers. Startled, Kennedy leaps up. He laughs. Bruised, shaken and angry over what she considered a sexual assault, Gaviglio runs from the room. Kennedy, Dodd and their dates leave shortly thereafter, following a friendly argument between the senators over the check.
This isn’t the only reported instance of Dodd being a sexist asshole. More, from Slate:
The late actress Carrie Fisher, in a memoir, wrote that she went on a group date in 1985 with Dodd during which Kennedy asked her leeringly if she would be “having sex with Chris” and/or would “have sex with Chris in a hot tub,” behavior which she says Dodd observed with “an unusual grin hanging on his very flushed face.” In 1990, a writer at the D.C. paper Roll Call described Kennedy and Dodd to GQ magazine as “two guys in a fraternity who have been loosed upon the world.”
Here’s some free advice for Biden—open up your archives, directly address Reade’s claims, and maybe don’t tap a man with his own history of extremely shitty behavior towards women and possibly sexual assault to help you, of all things, pick a woman to be your running mate.