On Tuesday night Joe Biden held a livestream event to highlight women’s issues during the coronavirus pandemic as part of his presidential campaign.
The Impact of COVID-19 on Women Town Hall event featured Hillary Clinton who used the opportunity to officially endorse Biden, the former vice president and presumptive Democratic presidential nominee.
Biden introduced Clinton as his “friend, and a woman who should be the President of the United States right now.”
Clinton smiled and replied, “I am thrilled to be part of your campaign, to not only endorse you but to help highlight a lot of these issues that are at stake in this presidential election.”
“This is a moment we need a leader and president like Joe Biden,” she said. “He has been preparing for this moment his entire life. I’ve not only been a colleague of Joe Biden’s, I’ve been a friend, and I can tell you that I wish he were president right now, but I can’t wait until he is if all of us do our part.”
But her endorsement has been met with a chorus of criticism claiming she is “enabling a sexual predator” amid allegations Biden sexually assaulted a former staffer in 1993. His accuser, Tara Reade, appeared on Fox News on the same evening, saying she voted for Clinton in 2016, in the primary and that she is a “lifelong Democrat.”
“Yet what I see now is someone enabling a sexual predator, and it was my former boss, Joe Biden, who raped me,” she said.
“Hillary Clinton has a history of enabling powerful men to cover up their sexual predatory behaviours and their inappropriate sexual misconduct. We don’t need that for this country. We don’t need that for our new generation coming up that wants institutional rape culture to change.”
Biden is being not-so-coy with his tactics regarding the optics of his relations with women. Last month, he announced he would pick a woman as his Vice President should he win office, a decision which was seen to counter the impact of the accusations he now faces.
In an exclusive interview with the Daily Caller News Foundation on Tuesday, Reade demanded transparency from Biden’s team and called on them to release the documents relating to his time in the Senate when she alleges that he’d kissed her, touched her and penetrated her with his fingers without her consent.
“Joe Biden, I want you to release all the personnel records from 1973 to 2009 and be transparent about your office practices,” Reade told Daily Caller News Foundation. “I would like to hold you accountable for what happened to me, to how your staff protected you and enabled you, bullied me multiple times into silence.”
Clinton’s endorsement comes on the back of a wave of other high profile endorsements in the last few weeks, including Senator Bernie Sanders, former President Barack Obama and Senator Elizabeth Warren.
“Just think if we had a president who not only listened to the science, facts over science, but brought us together,” Clinton added last night. “Showed the kind of compassion we need in our president, a real president, not just somebody who plays one on TV.”
During their fifty-three minute conversation, Biden and Clinton outlined a range of progressive policies they wish to see in the future including universal health care, higher minimum wage, expanded unemployment compensation, abortion rights, and paid sick leave.
“We need to make ensure women have access to all health services through this crisis,” Biden said. “Abortion is an essential health care service. It’s being used as a political wedge right now and it shouldn’t be.”
Biden acknowledged in his opening remarks that the pandemic “hits hardest those who are most vulnerable and who have the fewest resources including women of colour and low-income women. This pandemic is lifting the curtain on so many inequalities in our society.”
Clinton emphasised the disproportionate impact faced by women working in the front line and women “holding down the home.”
“Eighty percent of health care workers in US are women,” she continued. “And 1 out of 3 jobs held by women is classified as essential.”
In his closing remarks, Biden said he’d continue to call Clinton for her advice. “There’s so much work to do but I have no doubt we can meet these challenges brought on by this virus if we work together. There is no quit in America.”
A few hours ago on Twitter, Biden posted a warm acknowledgement and appreciation for Clinton, saying, “I’ve known @HillaryClinton for years, and know that her dedication and passion for bettering our country are second to none. I’m grateful for her endorsement and for her friendship — and look forward to working alongside her to get Donald Trump out of the White House.”