Pelosi Calls On Another Dem To Resign Amid Sexual Harassment Allegations

L.E. Baskow/Las Vegas Sun

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) sent out a statement early Saturday calling on freshman Democratic congressman Rep. Ruben Kihuen (D-NV) to resign after allegations that he sexually harassed a campaign staffer during his 2016 election bid.

A woman who said she worked as his campaign finance director has accused Kihuen of asking her for dates and sex “despite her repeated rejections,” Buzzfeed reported Friday. The woman, who Buzzfeed only called Samantha, said the congressman touched her thighs twice without her consent.

“Across the nation, in every industry, brave women are coming forward to share stories of harassment that must be heard,” Pelosi said in a statement sent to TPM after she spoke with Kihuen. “In Congress, no one should face sexual harassment in order to work in an office or in a campaign. The young woman’s documented account is convincing, and I commend her for the courage it took to come forward. In light of these upsetting allegations, Congressman Kihuen should resign.”

On Friday, Rep. Ben Ray Lujan (D-NM) called on Kihuen to resign as well, saying in a statement shared with Politico that “anyone guilty of sexual harassment or sexual assault … should not hold elected office.”

Kihuen told Buzzfeed that he doesn’t “recall any of the circumstances” that the woman identified as Samantha described, but apologized for “anything that I may have said or done that made her feel uncomfortable.”

Kihuen suggested Friday evening that he does not plan to step down, according to Politico. TPM’s requests for comment from Kihuen’s office were not immediately returned Saturday.

Pelosi has also called on Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) to resign after three women have come forward in recent weeks alleging Conyers asked them for sexual favors or touched them inappropriately while they worked for him.

Last week, he stepped down from his post as the top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, but has maintained that he doesn’t plan to leave Congress. Conyers’ attorney told reporters Friday that Conyers would evaluate his health and determine his future in the next several days. A family spokesperson said Conyers was hospitalized on Thursday for stress-related health issues.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Nicole Lafond is a news writer for TPM based in New York City. She is also currently earning a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University and previously worked as an education reporter at The News-Gazette in Champaign, Ill. Follow her on Twitter @Nicole_Lafond.
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