After a damning BuzzFeed report, Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) is stepping down as the ranking Democratic member of the House Judiciary Committee.
The 88-year-old congressman has confirmed that he settled a sexual harassment lawsuit for $27,000. A former staffer said that she resisted sexual advances from Conyers and was fired as a result, and now Conyers is under investigation from the House Ethics Committee.
“I deny these allegations, many of which were raised by documents reportedly paid for by a partisan alt-right blogger,” Conyers said in a statement. “I very much look forward to vindicating myself and my family before the House Committee on Ethics.”
How are Democrats responding?
There has been some division in the party over how to respond to Conyers. Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-N.Y.) and Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) are two Democrats who have been critical of the long-time congressman, with Rice saying Conyers should step down and Speier slamming the House ethics process.
“We say zero tolerance, but I don’t believe that we put our money where our mouths are,” Speier said.
But House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi wasn’t nearly as transparent, vaguely defending Conyers as an “icon” in a bizarre response on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
“John Conyers is an icon in our country,” Pelosi said. “He has done a great deal to protect women – Violence Against Women Act, which the left — right-wing — is now quoting me as praising him for his work on that, and he did great work on that. But the fact is, as John reviews his case, which he knows, which I don’t, I believe he will do the right thing.”
Democrats’ double standard on sexual misconduct allegations is one more example of our lawmakers valuing power more than principles. Republicans and Democrats alike need to take a good hard look at themselves and be honest about what comes first.
“A year after the presidential election, this continues to be a disturbing trend in America: the win-at-all-costs attitude,” Glenn said. “We’re leaking principles left and right.”
EDITOR'S NOTE: This article provided courtesy of TheBlaze.
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This is a rush transcript and may contain errors.
GLENN: Which matters more – principles or power?
It’s easy to say “principles,” when you’re not in power. But for those who are in power, how many can actually say, backed up by their actions, that principles come first?
Is it better to have power, in order to accomplish some really important things for the good of the country, even if it means you violate some principles along the way? A lot of Republicans and Democrats would answer yes.
A year after the presidential election, this continues to be the disturbing trend in America, this win-at-all-cost attitude. We’re leaking principles Left and Right trying to play king of the mountain.
We have an 88-year-old Democrat from Michigan, John Conyers Jr., the longest-serving member of Congress, who gets to secretly settle a sexual harassment complaint, with taxpayer money, and the worst consequence he may face is stepping down from the House Judiciary Committee (which he did yesterday). A second woman has also accused him of sexual harassment.
A couple Democrats have called for him to resign from Congress, but so far Conyers says he won’t. In fact, he plans to fight the sexual harassment allegations against him and regain his spot on the Judiciary Committee. Why? Because winning – power – is more important than principles.
Then we have House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi on Meet the Press yesterday, awkwardly defending Conyers because he’s an “icon.” I’m not sure being an icon is the best defense to use here.
She also said Conyers deserves “due process.” That’s true – due process is vital. I’m just trying to figure out why “due process” is appropriate in Conyers’ case, while accusers in other cases seem to be taken at their word.
Pelosi went on to say that you can’t equate the Al Franken and Roy Moore sexual harassment allegations. Why is she defending Conyers and Franken? Because power matters more than principles.
What matters most? I’ve been focusing on that question a lot lately. Our principles certainly matter, because they form the bedrock that our free society is built on. When that bedrock of principles fractures, the whole thing crumbles. And we’re feeling the effects of those fractures now.