Top House Democrat Nancy Pelosi says Michigan Rep. John Conyers, facing sexual misconduct allegations, should resign from Congress. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan echoed that call. (Nov. 30) AP
WASHINGTON — House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi called Thursday for the resignation of Rep. John Conyers, calling the misconduct allegations against him "serious, disappointing, and very credible."
Pelosi's comments on Thursday followed additional accusations of sexual harassment against Conyers, D-Mich., the longest serving member of Congress.
"The brave women who came forward are owed justice," Pelosi, D-Calif., said in response to a reporter's question during her weekly news conference. "I pray for Congressman Conyers and his family and wish them well. However, Congressman Conyers should resign."
On NBC's Meet the Press Sunday, Pelosi had avoided criticizing Conyers, calling him "an icon" who has "done a great deal to protect women."
On Thursday she again highlighted Conyers' achievements in Congress, shaping consequential legislation over more than five decades.
Nevertheless, "zero tolerance means consequences for everyone," she said. "No matter how great the legacy, it’s no license to harass or discriminate. In fact it makes it even more disappointing."
House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., also called for Conyer's resignation on Thursday.
“Yes, I think he should resign. He should resign immediately," he said at his weekly news conference.
Conyers' lawyer, Arnold Reed, said Conyers would not be resigning immediately.
"First of all, it’s not up to Nancy Pelosi,” Reed said at a hastily called news conference outside the Conyers' home. "That decision will be completely up to the congressman.”
The congressman returned from Washington, D.C., to Detroit earlier this week, amid multiple allegations of sexual harassment.
Conyers was hospitalized overnight and remains there, Reed, confirmed for the Free Press on Thursday morning. Reed said he would not discuss details about Conyers’ condition or release.
The announcement came shortly after a former staff member of Conyers appeared on the Today Show and accused him of "violating my body" among a number of sexual misconduct claims.
Contributing: Michael Collins, USA TODAY, and Robert Allen and Todd Spangler, Detroit Free Press.