Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is an investigative journalist and writer focusing on the radical Left and Islamic terrorism.
When Joe Biden allegedly sexually assaulted Tara Reade in the hallway of the Russell Senate Office Building, the storied building was home to an entire culture of Senate Democrat sexual predators.
The Russell Building is the home of the Kennedy Caucus Room. After Senator Ted Kennedy’s death, the ‘Kennedy’ part was added to the Caucus Room to honor the notorious sexual predator whose actions had led to the death of Mary Jo Kopechne. Mary Jo was one of the many young women drawn to public service by the idealistic speeches of the Kennedy clan’s political scions only to suffer at their hands.
The renaming of the Caucus Room to honor one of the Senate’s worst predators was spearheaded by Senator Chris Dodd, his longtime friend and the other man in the infamous story of the ‘Waitress Sandwich’. The ungentlemanly tale detailed in GQ began with Kennedy and Dodd getting their dates, “two very young blondes”, drunk. Blonde and young, sometimes underage, was how Ted liked them.
A waitress quoted in the story, notes, “They’d always get their girls very, very drunk.”
With the girls away, Dodd and Kennedy reportedly decided to have some fun with their waitress.
“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… 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,” the story of the waitress sandwich continued.
Dodd wasn’t just a good friend of Ted Kennedy, but of Joe Biden.
The two Senate Democrats were longtime pals who shared a campaign plane in 2008. Biden later told a reporter, “I’m for him. If I can’t make it, I’m for him.” When Dodd retired, Biden, by then in the Obama administration, released a statement that began with, “Senator Dodd is one of my best friends in life.”
Dodd moved from the Senate to running Hollywood’s MPAA. A few years later, both men were working together with China’s Xi to get more movies released in China. Biden’s assistance to Jeffrey Katzenberg of Dreamworks, who got to sit alongside President Xi, paid off with a big Hollywood fundraiser.
“I’ve known Harvey for 25, 30 years, and we’ve been friends,” the Senate Democrat admitted. “He was very helpful to me as a candidate for Congress and as a senator over the years.”
Dodd was accused of failing to come forward and condemn Weinstein. Biden did condemn the Hollywood mogul, but his speeches about powerful men taking advantage of women rang hollow. Not only did Biden hire Anita Dunn, the Obama adviser who had been brought in as part of Harvey Weinstein’s damage control team, but he maintained his relationship with Dodd.
Dodd has endorsed Biden and functioned as his surrogate on the campaign trail.
Back in the spring of 1993, when Biden allegedly assaulted Reade, Ted Kennedy and Chris Dodd were the future Veep’s colleagues in the Senate. That was also the year that President Clinton allegedly groped Kathleen Willey when she came to ask him for help. Democrats had Clinton’s back. There was no reason for Biden to have worried that his alleged Clintonesque behavior would ever come back to haunt him.
There was nothing abnormal about prominent Democrats crudely assaulting women in Washington D.C.
The nineties were the twilight of an era in Washington D.C. A year before Biden’s alleged assault in the Russell Office Building, Senator Brock Adams, a lefty Democrat, was accused of drugging and raping a 24-year-old congressional aide. Democrats continued to stand by Adams despite the allegations. But facing the possibility of losing a Senate seat that he had only won narrowly; Adams did not run again.
Eight women eventually came forward to accuse Adams of groping or otherwise assaulting them.
Adams might have been a cautionary tale for Biden, but for the fact that Democrats had stood by him until a preponderance of accusations and bad polls forced their hand. The United States Senate’s Select Committee on Ethics and its Democrat majority refused to investigate Adams. He was never charged for a series of what, if they were true, consisted of a series of carefully preplanned sexual assaults.
None of this was strange or surprising.
Senator Ted Kennedy, the Democrat “lion of the Senate”, could be seen in Michael Kelly’s account, ordering his limo to pull up to the curb to proposition two 16-year-old Senate pages. One of Kennedy’s high-ranking aides was described as a pimp “whose real job was to procure women for Kennedy”.
The Clinton years, with their tawdry second coming of the Kennedys, was the last hurrah of the old Democrat club whose privileges including mauling the female help working in Washington D.C. Clinton’s impeachment, outwardly futile, made D.C. misbehavior into a national issue and exacted a price. The misconduct didn’t stop, but it was slowly forced underground. By the new century, Senate members, who usually harbored futile presidential ambitions, had learned to exercise a little discretion.
At least by Kennedy standards.
Even in 2008, the Senate pool was reserved for men because some senators liked to swim naked. Who were they? Joe Biden has been accused of swimming naked in front of female secret service agents.
Biden has outlived, politically or physically, much of the club he was part of. Ted Kennedy is dead, Chris Dodd is on the sidelines, and at 77, Biden is a shambling relic from another era. Did he assault Reade? It’s possible that in his current state, he no longer remembers. But there’s no reason that such an act would have been an extraordinary event among Senate Democrats of the Kennedy-Dodd era.
That new wave of Democrats were part of a movement which cheerfully exploited women even as it preached a progressive new creed. Women were drawn to the Kennedyesque rhetoric, only to be abused, assaulted, and even killed by Democrat politicians who saw secretaries, staffers, waitresses, pages, and anyone under their power as a reward for having lied and cheated their way to the top.
Unlike their predecessors, their ideology immunized them from exposure by the media.
Dodd, Kennedy, and Biden were among the worst of the breed: overtly crooked politicians who synthesized the old dirty barroom politics with hollow radical moralizing. And now, 27 years after that alleged assault, a weak and confused Biden would like to run on a platform of restoring decency.
But when has Joe Biden ever been on speaking terms with decency?
Washington D.C. is full of ghosts. And there are more of them in the Russell Office Building than in just the Kennedy Caucus Room. Some of the ghosts aren’t even dead. They’re relics of another era. Not a less corrupt one, but one whose corruption was as overt as Senator Ted Kennedy propositioning minors.
Biden is one of those ghosts. After a rowdy political life, the former senator is a shadow of the man he was. His campaign is a shade haunting the Democrat Party with its past while mocking its future. It’s only fitting that the ghost is haunted by his own ghosts, by Tara Reade and, no doubt other women, secretaries and staffers waiting to emerge from the shadows and cobwebs of political history.
Many of the ghosts of the nation’s capital are women. Some are dead and buried. Others went home, bitter and broken, occasionally seeing their former bosses grinning on CNN or NBC. Many have buried the memories and gotten on with their lives. But in a city of ghosts, nothing stays buried forever.