Perez haunted by past call for officials who ‘engaged in sexual misconduct’ to ‘step aside,’ amid Biden claims

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A strong statement from Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez in 2017 regarding sexual misconduct is coming back to haunt him as the party's presumptive presidential nominee, former Vice President Joe Biden, faces his own allegations.

Perez and the DNC have remained silent on the accusation leveled against Biden by former Senate staffer Tara Reade, who claims the then-senator from Delaware sexually assaulted her in 1993. Perez was more outspoken in December 2017 after now-former Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., was accused of misconduct amid groping allegations.

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"The Democratic Party will stand up for women and for what is right. Public service is a public trust," Perez said in the statement at the time. "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."

The same statement claimed that responses to sexual misconduct allegations revealed differences between Democrats and Republicans, referencing allegations that had been made against President Trump. Both Trump and Biden have denied all allegations.

"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. And they’ve continued to champion a president who has a long and disturbing history of misconduct with women."

The Perez statement first resurfaced a Daily Caller report. That statement came nearly a year before Perez likewise decried then-Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh in the face of multiple sexual misconduct allegations, calling for a "sincere search for the truth" regarding those accusations.

Fast-forward to 2020, and Perez and the DNC have remained silent on the allegations against Biden. The DNC has not responded to Fox News' requests for comment.

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Meanwhile, the DNC and Biden's campaign entered into a joint fundraising agreement Friday in their efforts to defeat President Trump in November's election. That agreement allows donors to contribute up to $360,600 to the party’s fall campaign, a total far exceeding the $5,600 maximum that donors can give directly to Biden’s campaign.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also gave Biden her official endorsement Monday, as did Congressional Progressive Caucus co-chair Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash.

Only a handful of prominent Democrats have said anything publicly about the Reade allegations, which the Biden campaign strongly denies.

Asked for comment on Monday, Pelosi's office referred Fox News to an April 17 interview with MSNBC in which she was asked if she's satisfied with Biden's denial.

"Yes, I am. I am very much involved in this issue. I always want to give the opportunity that women deserve to be heard. I am satisfied with his answer, yes," she said.

Reade, who has openly advocated for Biden primary rival Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., has come forward before — last year, when multiple women emerged claiming inappropriate touching by Biden. But late last month she told a far more graphic version of events to podcast host Katie Halper that raised the level of the allegations against Biden to sexual assault.

On Friday, an Aug. 11, 1993 clip from "Larry King Live" emerged in which a woman Reade claims is her mother calls into the show and alludes to her daughter’s "problems" on Capitol Hill while working with a "prominent senator."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.