House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and other top House Democrats on Thursday increased the pressure on Rep. John Conyers, who is facing multiple accusations of sexual misconduct and a House Ethics Committee probe, by calling on him to resign from office.
Pelosi’s comments are a stark turnaround from her stance on Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press” when she praised the Michigan Democrat as an “icon,” questioned who his accusers are, and said the ethics probe should be allowed to go forward.
“Congressman Conyers should resign,” Pelosi told reporters on Thursday.
“The allegations against Congressman Conyers, as we’ve heard more and more since Sunday, are serious, disappointing and very credible,” she added. “It’s very sad. A brave woman came forward…Zero tolerance means consequences for everyone — no matter how great a legacy is no license to harass or discriminate.”
Conyers’ attorney, however, defiantly rejected Pelosi’s calls for his client to resign and insisted no such decision would be coming any time soon.
“It is not up to Nancy Pelosi, Nancy Pelosi did not elect Mr. Conyers,” the attorney, Arnold Reed, said at a press conference Thursday in Detroit. “And she sure as hell won’t be the one to tell the congressman to leave.”
Reed, who said there would be no decision from Conyers about his future on Thursday or Friday, also criticized Pelosi for demanding the lawmaker quit while not doing the same for Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., who is facing a growing number of accusations of sexual misconduct. The Senate Ethics Committee announced on Thursday it had opened an investigation into the sexual misconduct allegations against Franken.
Meanwhile, the highest-ranking African-American Democrat in Congress, Rep. Jim Clyburn of South Carolina, and House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer, of Maryland, both said later Thursday that they felt Conyers should step down.
Clyburn’s office confirmed to NBC News that he believes it is in Conyers’ best interest to leave, while Hoyer said it was “appropriate for him to resign.”
Earlier Thursday, Conyers’ political consultant Sam Riddle told WDIV-TV that Conyers had been hospitalized due to stress and he blamed the “media assault” stemming from the allegations against the lawmaker.
Click here to read more.
SOURCE: NBC News, Adam Edelman and Leigh Ann Caldwell