Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez on Sunday brushed off calls to convene a panel to investigate former Senate staffer Tara Reade’s sexual assault allegation against Joe Biden.
Biden’s record has already been subjected to a thorough review, Perez told ABC’s “This Week,” citing the vice presidential vetting process conducted by Barack Obama’s presidential campaign in 2008.
“There’s been so many investigations of the vice president,” Perez said. “The most comprehensive investigation of the vice president was when he was vetted by Barack Obama in 2008.”
On Saturday, The New York Times’ editorial board called Biden’s denial of the sexual assault allegation “insufficient” and urged the DNC to form an “unbiased, apolitical panel” to look into the matter. A spokesperson for the DNC called the suggestion “absurd.”
“If Barack Obama had any indication there was an issue, Barack Obama would not have had him as his vice president,” Perez told host Martha Raddatz when asked about the DNC’s apparent refusal to investigate the allegation.
“Barack Obama trusted Joe Biden,” he added. “I trust Joe Biden. And those investigations have been done.”
Reade alleged Biden pushed her up against a wall and penetrated her with his fingers when she worked as a staff assistant in his Senate office in 1993. She said she filed a formal complaint with the Senate that year about Biden’s behavior toward her.
Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, has denied Reade’s sexual assault claim. During an interview Friday with MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” Biden said any such complaint would be in the National Archives. He called on the Archives to “identify any record of the complaint she alleges she filed and make available to the press any such document.”
The Archives said later Friday that it does not have personnel records. Biden has since said he’s asked the secretary of the Senate to search for any documents that relate to the allegation.
In their op-ed, the Times’ editorial board members acknowledged that an “apolitical” investigation into the allegation directed by the DNC would be a “major undertaking.”
“Mr. Biden served 36 years in the Senate,” the editorial board wrote. “He turned over nearly 2,000 boxes and more than 400 gigabytes of data to the University of Delaware; most of it has not been cataloged. But the question at hand is no less than Mr. Biden’s fitness for the presidency. No relevant memo should be left unexamined.”
Perez on Sunday compared the interest in Biden’s personnel records to the Republican Party’s obsession with Hillary Clinton’s emails in 2016.
“There was nothing there,” Perez said.
“The fact of the matter is that ... the former president Barack Obama conducted an exhaustive search,” he added. “Joe Biden has been an open book.”