- House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi dodged repeated questions about harassment allegations against Rep. John Conyers on Sunday.
- Conyers has faced pressure to resign.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi dodged questions about whether Rep. John Conyers should resign following revelations that he settled a 2015 complaint with a former staffer who claimed she was fired after refusing his sexual advances.
When asked in an interview with Chuck Todd on “Meet The Press” whether Conyers should step aside, the California Democrat instead praised the longtime Michigan lawmaker, citing his work on the Violence Against Women Act as an example of his respect for women.
“We are strengthened by due process. Just because someone is accused – was it one accusation? Was it two?” Pelosi asked. “John Conyers is an icon in our country. He’s done a great deal to protect women.”
Pelosi called for an official House Ethics Committee inquiry into Conyers earlier this week, but stopped short of saying the 88-year-old lawmaker should step down.
Though she argued that both Conyers and his accusers were entitled to “due process,” Pelosi said the veracity of the accusations was “for the ethics committee to review,” and dodged a question about whether she believed his accusers.
“I don’t know who they are,” Pelosi said. “Do you? They have not come forward.”
Pelosi’s defense of Conyers came just minutes after she acknowledged there was a “generational change” in the way sexual harassment allegations are treated, and praised women for increasingly confronting harassers.
“Something very transformative is happening,” Pelosi said. “That is women are saying zero tolerance, no more, and we’re going to speak out on it. This is so wholesome, so refreshing, and so different.”
Unlike Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota, who has apologized for harassing and groping a woman in 2005, Conyers has vehemently denied allegations of sexual harassment.
Still, the refusal of both lawmakers to step aside has put increasing pressure on other Democrats, who have faced hard questions over how they can criticize Republicans accused of harassment and predation like Alabama senate candidate Roy Moore and President Donald Trump.
Dems are buzzing about this appearance. This interview is certain to embolden Pelosi’s critics in the Democratic caucus. https://t.co/JRbHjUsBYC
— Jake Sherman (@JakeSherman) November 26, 2017
Watch the clip via NBC:
— Meet the Press (@MeetThePress) November 26, 2017