Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez is being haunted by his past statements of support for women who accused powerful men of sexual misconduct.
As the Democrat makes his media rounds in support of former Vice President Joe Biden — who is facing a credible allegation of sexual assault from former female Senate staffer Tara Reade — previous comments continue to resurface from Perez on the subject, and they’re problematic for Perez and Democrats.
In 2018, as then-Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh was being grilled over Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s allegation that he assaulted her when they were teenagers, Perez was just one of countless Democrats to speak up in support of Blasey Ford, despite the vague nature of her accusation.
During an onstage interview with then-Wall Street Journal reporter Reid Epstein in September 2018 at the Texas Tribune Festival in Austin, Perez claimed Republicans were “afraid” of a formal investigation into the accusation against Kavanaugh.
Perez also lamented that Kavanaugh’s old friend Mark Judge, whom Blasey Ford claimed was a witness but who said he had no memory of the alleged events, had not been subpoenaed to testify before the Senate.
“As someone who spent a good part of my career at the Justice Department, under Republican and Democratic administrations as a career prosecutor, I can’t help but be overwhelmed by the kangaroo court. Mark Judge is a witness to this who hasn’t been subpoenaed. Why are they afraid of an investigation?” Perez said at the time.
“This is a lifetime appointment. This is the real deal.”
Perez also praised Blasey Ford for her “profile in courage.”
“Her life will never be the same. She will never be anonymous again. She’s endured death threats. They had to move out of their home,” the DNC chairman said.
It is important to note that an FBI investigation into Blasey Ford’s allegation against Kavanaugh found no evidence he was guilty of any wrongdoing.
Less than two years later, following the accusation that Biden kissed, groped and digitally penetrated Reade during an unwanted 1993 sexual advance (which Biden denied Friday on MSNBC) Perez has begun singing a very different tune.
Speaking to ABC’s Martha Raddatz on Sunday about a search for an official complaint Reade says she filed with the Senate personnel office after the alleged incident, Perez claimed that Biden has already done enough to prove his innocence.
Perez also said that Biden had been transparent about the allegation, citing the former VP’s call for Senate records to be released that might contain Reade’s complaint.
But Perez brushed off any notion that there should be a probe into the more than 1,800 boxes of records from Biden’s Senate career currently being kept at the University of Delaware.
“There’s been so many investigations of the vice president. The most comprehensive investigation of the vice president was when he was vetted by Barack Obama in 2008. I’m very familiar with vice presidential vetting process. They look at everything about you,” Perez said.
“They looked at the entire history of Joe Biden, his entire career. And I’ll tell you, if Barack Obama had any indication that there was an issue, Barack Obama would not have had him as his vice president. Barack Obama trusted Joe Biden. I trust Joe Biden. And those investigations have been done,” Perez told ABC’s “This Week.”
As for the University of Delaware records, Perez said, “This is like the Hillary emails. Because, there was nothing there.”
“I work on the Senate’s Judiciary Committee in 1995, the ranking member was Joe Biden. I was working for Joe Biden. I was working for Senator Kennedy. If you want to see my personnel records, you don’t go to the Kennedy Institute. That’s not where they go, and so, when you ask the University of Delaware to take a look at something, you’re asking them to look for something that doesn’t exist.”
These comments paint a picture of a man who, like a great deal of Democrats, has been both disingenuous and inconsistent on the subject of believing woman.
In December 2017, Perez vowed that Democrats would not look the other way at sexual misconduct allegations against members of his own party. Those comments came after then-Sen. Al Franken, a Democrat from Minnesota, had been accused of sexual misconduct.
“Sexual misconduct, harassment, and assault have no place in the Democratic Party, the United States Congress, the White House, or anywhere,” Perez said in a statement at the time.
“There are big differences between Democrats and Republicans and this is just one of them. Instead of standing up for women and confronting the problems of misconduct within their own ranks, the Republican Party has chosen to pursue power and push their radical far-right agenda at any cost,” he said. “The Democratic Party will stand up for women and for what is right. Public service is a public trust. If you are a candidate for office or an elected official who has engaged in sexual misconduct, you should step aside — whether you sit in the U.S. House of Representatives, the U.S. Senate, or the Oval Office.”
Biden is now his party’s presumptive nominee for the Oval Office, and he is facing a credible allegation of sexual assault.
Perez and Democrats now seem to be the ones afraid an investigation. And they’re certainly not asking Biden to step aside.
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