A former top official for Sen. Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign is calling on former Vice President Joe Biden to step aside as the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee over an allegation of sexual assault.
The Sanders campaign’s former national organizing director Claire Sandberg said Wednesday that Democrats should act now on the accusations of Tara Reade, a former Senate staffer who has accused Biden of sexual assault. Recent evidence shows that Reade’s accusation is not recent, and that she had told friends and family about the incident she had with Biden soon after it happened.
“Now is the time to deal with the ramifications of Tara Reade’s accusations, not this fall,” Sandberg tweeted. “There is simply no moral justification for Biden to continue as the presumptive nominee. Out of respect for survivors and for the good of the country, he should withdraw from the race.”
“This does not mean that Bernie should become the nominee by default,” Sandberg continued. “The primary should resume somehow, and other candidates who dropped out should be able to get back in the race as well. Obviously, this means primaries should not be cancelled.”
New York became the first state to cancel its presidential primary over the coronavirus on Monday. The New York State Board of Elections voted to scrap the contest, though keeping all other elections in place, over concerns about the coronavirus and because Biden was the only candidate left in the race.
Sandberg said that the Democratic Party’s best course morally and for beating President Trump in November is for Biden to step aside, cutting off several avenues for attacks on the Democratic nominee that the Trump campaign could capitalize on.
“Barreling ahead and acting like Biden’s conduct is excusable, or pretending that Trump won’t make a lot of hay out of the Democratic party’s hypocrisy, does not seem like a good plan to me,” Sandberg said.
“The stakes are too high to just pray that ‘yes these accusations are troubling but vote for Biden anyway to stop Trump’ will be a winning message. It’s possible that it will be enough, given the level of death and economic destruction we’re facing, but do we want to risk it?” she added.
A number of high-profile Democrats have jumped to defend Biden in recent days as Reade’s accusation has made more and more headlines in the press. Sens. Kamala Harris (D-CA) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), both potential vice presidential picks for Biden, have praised the presumptive nominee and downplayed the allegation against him.
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who lost the presidential election to Trump in 2016, endorsed Biden on Tuesday in a video town hall. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi endorsed the Democratic candidate the day before. Both endorsements came several days after an August 11, 1993, video surfaced showing Larry King accepting a call from a woman believed to be Reade’s mother asking about how her daughter should respond to problems with a “prominent senator.”
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