House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi reversed course Thursday and said embattled Rep. John Conyers should resign from Congress as he faces growing sexual harassment allegations – while he checked into hospital with ‘stress’
‘The allegations against congressman Conyers as we have learned more since Sunday are serious, disappointing and very credible,’ said Pelosi, a California representative who notably did not call for Conyers to go during a Sunday appearance on NBC’s ‘Meet the Press.’
‘It’s very sad. The brave women who came forward are owed justice,’ Pelosi continued at a Capitol press conference.
‘I pray for congressman Conyers and his family and wish them well, however, Congressman Conyers should resign,’ she said.
But as her call seemed to seal the end of the 88-year-old alleged serial molester’s fight for survival, his lawyer attacked her then smeared women claiming to be his victims as bandwagon jumpers.
House Speaker Paul Ryan also called for Conyers to resign – but the 88-year-old’s lawyer issued a defiant statement.
‘Nancy Pelosi did not elect the congressman and she sure as hell won’t be the one to tell the congressman to leave,’ said attorney Arnold Reed, Politico reported.
Then he piled on: ‘I would suspect that Nancy Pelosi is going to have to explain what is the discernible difference between Al Franken and John Conyers,’ referencing another Democratic lawmaker, the Minnesota senator, giving his colleagues heartburn.
Pelosi’s statement came as the Michigan representative was hospitalized Thursday morning for stress as he weathers a sexual harassment scandal and faces pressure to end his 50-year career in Congress.
She was joined by House Speaker Paul Ryan, who referenced a morning television appearance by one of Conyers’ accusers.
‘I heard what she said this morning on NBC. No one should have to go through something like that, let alone here in Congress. So yes I think he should resign. I think he should resign immediately,’ said Ryan.
‘I’ve just been briefed on the torrent of allegations and I think he should,’ he added.
Conyers, 88, was rushed to a hospital just as a former aide broke her silence for the first time and spoke on the record about her accusations Conyers sexually harassed her.
Conyers’ family say the veteran lawmaker is suffering from stress-related illness.
Sam Riddle, a political consultant, told WDIV channel 4, ‘I just spoke with Monica Conyers on the phone and we want you to know that the congressman is resting comfortably in an area hospital. He’s doing OK, as well as he can be expected for a gentleman that’s approaching 90 years of age.’.
‘The congressman’s health is not what it should be and lot of that is directly attributable to this media assault,’ The Hill reported.
‘He won’t be coming out’ to address reporters, Riddle said.
‘His wife Monica is by his side,’ said Riddle, who said he works with Monica Conyers.
‘These serial accusers have done this before. We’re used to it. We don’t condone sexual harassment on any level.
‘But we hope that you will pray for the congressman’s good health and we hope and we hope that you will also understand that there is a bitter double edged sword to those that would accuse especially, when they’re serial accusers,’ Riddle told reporters at the hospital.
He called for the media to spend its time going after ‘known pedophiles,’ crash the White House Christmas party to research President Trump’s accusers, and ‘leave congressman Conyers alone.’
Conyers, who House minority leader Nancy Pelosi called an ‘icon’ on Sunday, was forced to step down from the top Democratic spot on the Judiciary Committee this week while facing mounting harassment allegations.
Fellow Democrats in the Congressional Black Caucus privately urging him to resign from the House of Representatives.
The group’s chairman, Rep. Cedric Richmond, says he and the Michigan congressman had a ‘candid conversation about the seriousness of the allegations against him.’
‘Any decision to resign from office before the ethics investigation is complete is John’s decision to make,’ Richmond said in a statement after the meeting.
Reps. Kathleen Rice of New York and Pramila Jayapal of Washington, both Democrats, have publicly called for Conyers to quit.
Conyers is facing an Ethics Committee probe after the harassment allegations emerged.
A former aide to the Democratic lawmaker who had received a settlement after accusing the Democrat of sexual harassment, and was later fired, broke her silence for the first time on Thursday, claiming that the veteran lawmaker ‘violated’ her body and asked her to find other women to sexually satisfy him.
Marion Brown, a single mother of two grown daughters and a grandmother, appeared on the Today Show with her lawyer to detail her history with the 88-year-old representative from Detroit, for whom she had work for 11 years.
‘It was sexual harassment, violating my body, propositioning me, inviting me to hotels with the guise of discussing business and propositioning for sex,’ Brown told Savannah Guthrie. ‘He just violated my body, he’s touched me in different ways. It was very uncomfortable and very unprofessional.’
Just a few hours after Brown’s explosive interview aired, Conyers’ family announced the congressman was hospitalized for a ‘stress-related illness.’
Conyers, the longest-serving member of the House, has denied any wrongdoing and said through his lawyer on Thursday that he has no intention to vacate his elected post, even though some top Democrats have been pressing him to leave.
In her interview on Today, Brown described one specific instance, which allegedly took place in a Chicago hotel room in 2005, in which she said the married legislator undressed down to his underwear in front of her and bluntly propositioned her for sex.
‘He asked me to satisfy to him sexually. He pointed to genital areas of his body and asked me to touch him.
‘I was frozen shocked. I didn’t want to lose my job, I didn’t want to upset him. Also, he asked me to find other people that would satisfy him. I just tried to escape. I did tell him that I was not going to do that and I did not feel comfortable.’
Brown is one of several women who have recently come out accusing the veteran member of the House of sexual misconduct.