South Carolina’s lone Democratic congressman reversed himself Thursday, saying he has called on embattled Michigan U.S. Rep. John Conyers to step down among multiple sex harassment charges.
Assistant Democratic Leader Jim Clyburn became the highest-profile member of the Congressional Black Caucus to call for Conyers’ resignation. “I think he should do for his constituents what he did for his colleagues,” he told the online news site Politico, referring to Conyers’ decision to give up his post as ranking member on the House Judiciary Committee. “I told him [resigning] would be in his best interest.”
Clyburn’s remarks came shortly after House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said she believed Conyers needed to step aside.
Politico said Clyburn expressed concern that Conyers may try to stay in office after hearing support from his family and constituents.
“I thought he was in a good place. I thought he understood what was going on,” Clyburn said. “I have come to the conclusion there’s a force that I can’t handle. I have no idea who or what it is.”
The remarks came one day after Clyburn sarcastically responded to a reporter’s question in semi-defense of Conyers. After a reporter noted much quicker firings by figures such as Harvey Weinstein, Charlie Rose and Matt Lauer, Clyburn answered “Who elected them?” He did not respond when a second reporter then asked if that meant he thought elected officials should be handled differently.
Prior to Thursday, Clyburn had called for the case to be handled by the House Ethics Committee.