Politics

John Conyers Refuses Calls For His Resignation Over Sexual Misconduct

REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Chuck Ross Investigative Reporter

Michigan Rep. John Conyers remained defiant on Thursday after House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi called on him to resign over allegations of sexual misconduct.

“It is not up to Nancy Pelosi. Nancy Pelosi did not elect [Conyers] and she sure as hell won’t be the one to tell the congressman to leave,” Conyers attorney Arnold Reed said at a press conference in Detroit, where the 88-year-old lawmaker lives.

“That decision will be completely up to the congressman. He has not thought about that. He is thinking about his health. He is thinking about getting well,” added Reed, who said that Conyers was in a hospital receiving treatment for a “stress-related illness.”

Earlier in the day, Pelosi called on Conyers to resign after several former staffers came forward to accuse him of sexual harassment and other misconduct.

“Well, the allegations against Congressman Conyers, as we have learned more since Sunday, are serious, disappointing and very credible. It’s very sad,” Pelosi told reporters. “The brave women who have come forward are owed justice. I pray for Congressman Conyers and his family and wish them well. However, Congressman Conyers should resign.”

Pelosi’s remarks are a stark contrast to her comments on “Meet the Press” on Sunday when she said that he deserved due process and that he would be subject to a House Ethics Investigation.

According to Politico, South Carolina Rep. Jim Clyburn, another top House Democrat and prominent member of the Congressional Black Caucus, also called on Conyers to resign Thursday.

In his press conference, Reed, the lawyer for Conyers, suggested that Pelosi was using a double-standard to judge two separate sexual misconduct cases involving Democratic lawmakers.

“There are, to my count, five of these allegations against Al Franken,” Reed said in reference to the Minnesota senator who has been accused of groping women.

“There are four, three or four against the congressman. At the end of the day, I would suspect that Nancy Pelosi is going to have to explain what is the discernible difference between Al Franken and John Conyers. That is a question that she is going to have to answer.”

It was not entirely clear what Reed was implying with his comments, though it is notable that Conyers is black and Franken is white. Pelosi’s silence on Franken is likely due to his position as a senator and hers as leader of House Democrats.

“And again, he is not going to be pressured by Nancy Pelosi or by anyone else,” Reed reiterated during his remarks.

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