As more details emerge from the sexual-misconduct allegations against Rep. John Conyers, the Michigan Democrat has also announced he will be retiring from Congress and would like his son to take his place.
He stepped down from the House Judiciary Committee in late November, but has continued to deny the accusations.
"I deny these allegations, many of which were raised by documents reportedly paid for by a partisan alt-right blogger. I very much look forward to vindicating myself and my family before the House Committee on Ethics,” said Conyers last month.
Now he is announcing his retirement after being in a Detroit hospital since last month due to chest pains.
“I’m retiring today,” said Conyers to a local radio station. “I want everyone to know how much I appreciate [their] support.”
Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee also read a statement from Conyers on the House floor making the announcement.
“Given the totality of the circumstance, of not being afforded the right of due process in conjunction with current health conditions, and to preserve my legacy and good name, I’m retiring. I hope my retirement will be viewed in the larger perspective of my record of service as I enter a new chapter,” said Conyers in the statement.
Conyers has been plagued with the sexual harassment scandal for the last two weeks and last week, he met with family and advisers about his next steps as a politician.
Conyers attorney said last week that his client would not be forced from office.
“The congressmen felt it was important to address the individuals who elected him … separate from those in Washington,” said Arnold Reed.
Even though Conyers’ team made some statements that he wouldn't be stepping down from his seat, this still isn’t much of a surprise.
However, it is unexpected that Conyers is hoping that his son will take over his role in Congress. It won’t be easy for his son considering the mounting evidence against his father.
Conyers settled a wrongful dismissal complaint where a former employee said that she was let go for denying his sexual advances in 2015. The former employee was awarded 27,000 from Congress. Then Conyers' former scheduler filed a sexual harassment claim last February, which was eventually dropped.
Even with more sexual harassment details being exposed, Conyers believes his legacy has yet to be “diminished.”
“My legacy cannot be compromised or diminished in any way, but what we are going through now. This too, shall pass. … I am very proud that I am the dean of the Congress,” said Conyers on the local Michigan radio station Tuesday morning. "I want you to know that my legacy will continue through my children. I have a great family here and especially in my oldest boy, John Conyers III who incidentally I endorsed to replace me in my seat in Congress."
Conyers great-nephew, Ian Conyers said the decision to retire was made due to his health.
"His doctor advised him that the rigor of another campaign would be too much for him just in terms of his health," said Ian Conyers to the New York Times.
He also said he would stand with him.
"I stand with my uncle in terms of his belief of no specific wrongdoing," said Ian Conyers. "However, those things need to have their day in court."
Democrats have continued to applaud his work, while also offering vague criticism of sexual misconduct.
“John Conyers is an icon in our country. He has done a great deal to protect women — the Violence Against Women Act,” said Nancy Pelosi, House Minority Leader to NBC’s “Meet the Press” last week. “He did great work on that.”
But she did make a call for him to resign.
“John has been a champion for justice his entire life, and there is no doubt that these allegations have taken a tremendous toll on him personally … .With that said, there can be no tolerance for behavior that subjects women to the kind of conduct that has been alleged,” said Rep. Jerrold Nadler of New York who took over as the ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee.
Author’s note: We expected this. Let's face it his health issues are the perfect excuse. He is being forced out because he is expendable and the Democrats want to be able to take the high road on this issue in order to continue to beat up Trump and other Republicans with similar allegations. This is strictly a cynical political play.