Second Dem Rep. Calls For Conyers To Resign: ‘We Cannot Pick And Choose’

Sen. Pramila Jayapal, D-Seattle, speaks at a rally for Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., Saturday, Aug. 8, 2015, in downtown Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Elaine Thompson/AP

Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) on Tuesday became the second Democrat in Congress to call for Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) to resign following multiple allegations of sexual harassment.

“This is a watershed moment where, finally, the country seems to be waking up and realizing we need to have a zero tolerance policy toward sexual harassment,” Jayapal said in a statement. “We cannot pick and choose. Democrats cannot lambaste Trump and Moore, and then turn a blind eye to our own who face credible charges against them.”

She added: “For justice to be done in cases with substantial evidence, a simple denial is not sufficient; the relinquishment of power becomes essential.”

BuzzFeed reported last week on former Conyers staffers who alleged he touched them inappropriately and asked them for sexual favors. On Tuesday, the Detroit Free Press reported on another former staffer, Deanne Maher, who made similar allegations of sexual misconduct.

Jayapal joins Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-NY), who called on Conyers to resign last week.

“Enough is enough,” Rice said of her call for Conyers’ resignation. “At this point what I am voicing publicly is what every single private citizen is saying across America: Why are the rules for politicians in Washington different than they are for everyone else?”

Conyers has consistently denied wrongdoing, and many Democratic elected officials have given him the benefit of the doubt, or the benefit of their silence.

Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-SC) said last week that “for all I know, all of this is made up.” And Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), asked about Conyers Sunday, said that he “is an icon in our country. He has done a great deal to protect women.” She has not said that she believes Conyers should resign.

Conyers said Sunday he’ll “step aside” from his position as ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee — on which Jayapal also serves — “during the investigation of these matters,” and the House Ethics Committee announced last week that it would be investigating the claims against Conyers, the longest serving current member of Congress.