- Jonathan Ernst/Reuters
- Rep. John Conyers’ attorney said that the 88-year-old Michigan Democrat has not decided whether to resign amid multiple allegations of sexual harassment.
- The attorney told reporters on Thursday that House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi “sure as hell won’t be the one to tell the congressman to leave” office.
Rep. John Conyers’ attorney said that the 88-year-old congressman has not decided whether to resign after multiple House leaders have called on him to leave office following multiple allegations of sexual harassment.
Conyers’ attorney, Arnold Reed, told reporters at a Thursday afternoon press conference that the senior Democrat would not be “pressured” by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to leave the office he’s held for 50 years.
“Nancy Pelosi did not elect the congressman and she sure as hell won’t be the one to tell the congressman to leave,” Reed told reporters during a Thursday afternoon press conference. “He is not going to be pressured by Nancy Pelosi or anyone else to step down.”
Reed also suggested that calls for Conyers to step down are hypocritical given that Sen. Al Franken, a Minnesota Democrat who has been accused by several women of inappropriate touching, has not been asked by congressional leaders to resign.
“I would suspect that Nancy Pelosi is going to have to explain what is the discernible difference between Al Franken and John Conyers,” he said.
Pelosi was criticized after she initially defended Conyers, calling him an “icon” and appearing to question the weight of the accusations. But on Thursday, Pelosi said that the allegations against Conyers are “very credible” and must be met with “consequences.”
“The allegations against Congressman Conyers, as we have learned more since Sunday, are serious, disappointing and very credible. It’s very sad,” she said. “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.”
Rep. James Clyburn, a close ally of Conyers’s and the top-ranking black member of Congress, said that he had encouraged Conyers to step down, saying it would be “in his best interest.”
“I have been talking to John … I thought he was in a good place. I thought he understood what was going on,” Clyburn said. “I have come to the conclusion there’s a force that I can’t handle. I have no idea who or what it is.”
House Speaker Paul Ryan called on the Michigan Democrat to “resign immediately” during a Thursday press conference.
The longest-serving member of Congress, Conyers was hospitalized with a stress-related illness on Thursday, CBS Detroit reported. His spokesperson said the congressman is seeking treatment, though he didn’t specify the ailment.
Allan Smith contributed to this report.