Congressional delegation backs Biden despite allegations

DOVER — All three members of Delaware’s congressional delegation continue to support presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden despite a sexual assault allegation. Each has called for an investigation, as has Mr. Biden.

Joe Biden

In March, former U.S. Senate staffer Tara Reade said Mr. Biden, the ex-vice president who served as one of Delaware’s two senators for 36 years, digitally penetrated her in 1993 on Capitol Hill. She accused him last year of touching her inappropriately but did not characterize it as sexual assault at the time.

Mr. Biden has denied the claims. Earlier this month, he requested the Senate release a complaint Ms. Reade said she filed after the 1993 incident, but the secretary of the chamber did not do so, saying such submissions are confidential.

The three Democrats representing the First State in Washington have close ties to Mr. Biden, whom they have known and worked with in various ways for years. All endorsed him at the start of his campaign last year.

Sen. Tom Carper, the dean of the delegation, spent 18 years in Congress with Mr. Biden, including eight as a fellow senator. His office said last week the senator continues to back Mr. Biden

“Consistently, Vice President Biden and those around him have rightly urged that women be heard and treated with respect,” a spokeswoman said. “Not only has Biden unambiguously denied this allegation, but he encouraged a thorough investigation of the facts, which numerous organizations have completed. Senator Carper supports Joe Biden – his friend who he has known for more than 40 years – and his response.”

Through a spokesman, Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester, who is co-chairing the Biden campaign and its vice presidential selection committee, praised the way Mr. Biden has responded to Ms. Reade’s claims.

“As Vice President Biden has said, and I too believe, when allegations are made, we must start with the presumption that survivors are telling the truth,” a spokesman said. “Those claims should be evaluated with the evidence available to determine the path forward.

“Since Ms. Reade’s allegations were first lodged against him, Vice President Biden has taken them seriously, has treated Ms. Reade with respect, and has never once questioned her motives. Not only has he unequivocally denied the allegations, but he has also called on the Senate to release any and all complaints that were made and has urged a careful and exhaustive review of the facts, including by the media.

“I support the way the Biden campaign has handled this situation and continue to stand with the Vice President as we all work together to restore the soul of the country.”

A spokesman for Sen. Chris Coons expressed a similar view.

“Sen. Coons believes all allegations of assault should be taken seriously and investigated,” he said. “Since these allegations first surfaced, the Biden campaign has urged reporters to look into them and the campaign is urging the Secretary of the Senate to release records of any complaint Ms. Reade might have filed. Senator Coons believes Vice President Biden and his campaign are handling this appropriately.”