Four days after labeling him an “icon” in the Democratic Party, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi said Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) should resign his seat in the House, amid a flurry of accusations of past sexual misconduct allegations, as Pelosi said she believed the stories of the women. Her call was immediately echoed by the Speaker of the House.
“I pray for Congressman Conyers and his family, and wish them, however Congressman Conyers should resign,” Pelosi said at her regular weekly news conference.
“The allegations against Congressman Conyers as we have learned more since Sunday, are serious, disappointing, and very credible,” Pelosi told reporters.
“It’s very sad,” she added.
A few minutes later in the same news conference room, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan left no doubt that he shared Pelosi’s opinion on the 88 year old Conyers.
“Yes, I think he should resign, I think he should resign immediately,” Ryan said. “I’ve just been briefed on the torrent of allegations, and I think he should.”
Hours earlier, news reports from Detroit said that Conyers, the Dean of the House, had been admitted to a hospital suffering from stress.
The Michigan Democrat had returned to Detroit on Tuesday, after new sexual misconduct allegations surfaced, as fellow black lawmakers had met with Conyers, urging him to think about resigning his seat in the Congress.
Pelosi joins two other female Democrats in the House in calling for Conyers to leave, but her position as the top Democrat in the House insures that this call for Conyers to resign may have a much more dramatic political impact on his decision.
But aides to Conyers quickly made clear that he was not going to resign.
Meanwhile, pressure over a different kind of allegation led Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) to announce he would not run for re-election in 2018.
Last week, a lewd photo surfaced that Barton had sent to a woman; yesterday, suggestive social messages were revealed that he had sent to another woman.
Asked about Barton, Speaker Ryan said they had spoken about the situation.
Just a few minutes later, the news broke that Barton would not return to the Congress in 2019.
There were also more questions today in the Senate regarding the future of Sen. Al Franken (D-MN), as two more women came forward to allege sexual misconduct by Franken, before he was elected in 2008.
While Democrats in the Senate said little, Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH) said he thought Franken and Conyers should both go out the door.