Washington – A sexual assault charge against Joe Biden has become the first big hurdle against the almost certain Democratic presidential nominee, fueling Republican attacks and leaving many in his own party in an awkward position.
Biden’s campaign has rejected accusations by former Senate aide Tara Reade, who has said Biden assaulted her in the basement of a Capitol building in the 1990s, but the story gained new attention this week after two Reade’s associates said she gave them elements of her remarks.
Republicans – concerned about President Donald Trump’s increasingly precarious political position – are taking advantage of the accusation to describe Democrats as hypocrites who only defend women who accuse conservatives. Those Republicans are holding fast to their positions, even though they could renew attention to the multiple sexual abuse allegations brought against Trump.RELATED
Democrats, meanwhile, find themselves in the awkward position of validating women who make their stories known while defending the man who will be their candidate in what the party sees as the most important choice of their lives.
The tension is heightened by the fact that Biden has said nothing of the allegations.
Like many Americans, Biden has spent the past few weeks at home to prevent coronavirus infections. The candidate has participated in a handful of local and national interviews, in which he has not been asked about the allegations, but has not held a press conference with the group of reporters covering his movements since April 2, before that various press organizations report Reade’s story.
Some Democrats say that approach doesn’t work and call for a clearer answer.
The November presidential contest between Biden and Trump will be the first of the era of the #MeToo movement, which has prompted numerous women to publicly voice their allegations of sexual violence. Trump has been accused of assaulting and tampering with numerous women, something he denies.