The leaders of the U.S. House of Representatives have called for U.S. Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., to resign because of ongoing public accusations of sexual harassment by former female staffers. However, the Congressional Black Caucus as a body hasn’t done so.
File – In this April 4, 2011 file photo, Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., the ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, listens during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington. Top House Democrat Nancy Pelosi says Conyers, facing sexual misconduct allegations, should resign. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
On Nov. 30, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) during a news conference said it was time for the 88-year-old legislator to go. Pelosi strongly supported him on the Sunday news talk show “Meet the Press” but backed away from her previous endorsement.
“Well, the allegations against Congressman Congressman Conyers, as we have learned more since Sunday, are serious, disappointing and very credible,” Pelosi said. “It’s very sad. The brave women who came forward are owed justice.
“I pray for Congressman Conyers and his family and wish them well. However, Congressman Conyers should resign.”
Conyers, a Democrat who represents a Detroit-based district, is the longest-serving member of the House; he came to Congress in 1965. He has chaired and been the ranking Democrat for key committees such as the Judiciary and Government Operations committees throughout his tenure.
Conyers is responsible for the federal Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday and several voting bills that make it easier for Americans to cast a ballot. He is a founder and former chairman of the CBC.
Pelosi feted Conyers for his service.
“As dean, Congressman Conyers has served our Congress for more than five decades and shaped some of the most consequential legislation of the last half century,” she said. “However, zero tolerance means consequences for everyone.
“No matter how great the legacy, it is no license to harass or discriminate. In fact, it makes it even more disappointing.”
Pelosi’s call for Conyers to step down was echoed by U.S. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) based on a television appearance by Conyers accuser Marion Brown.
“I heard what she said this morning on NBC,” Ryan said at his weekly news conference on Nov. 30. “No one should have to go through something like that alone here in Congress. So, yes, I think he should resign and he should resign immediately.”
House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) and Assistant Democratic Leader James Clyburn (D-S.C.), the highest ranking Black in the U.S. Congress, said Conyers should go, a spokesman confirmed to the AFRO.
However, a spokeswoman for the CBC told the AFRO that the organization hasn’t called for Conyers to resign even though individual members have.
Conyers is hospitalized in Detroit, trying to recover from dealing with stress. His attorney Arnold Reed told NBC News on Nov. 30 that his client isn’t quitting the House.
“It’s not up to Nancy Pelosi,” Reed said. “Nancy Pelosi didn’t elect Mr. Conyers and she sure as hell won’t be the one to tell the congressman to leave.”