Democratic Representative John Conyers of Michigan said on Tuesday that he is “retiring today,” an announcement that follows allegations by former aides that he sexually harassed them and pressure from top Democrats in Congress for him to resign.
“I am in the process of putting my retirement plans together,” Conyers said on the Mildred Gaddis show, a Detroit radio program, endorsing his son, John Conyers III, to replace him. An attorney for the congressman had previously said that his health would be a determining factor in the congressman’s decision over his future plans. On Tuesday, Conyers said, in response to a question about the allegations against him, that “whatever they are, they are not accurate.”
A request to a Conyers spokesperson asking if the congressman is retiring today or whether he plans to serve out the end of his term before retiring was not immediately answered.
The news comes as Capitol Hill is grappling with a wave of sexual misconduct allegations against members of Congress as the United States undergoes a reckoning of sorts over sexual harassment by men in powerful positions.
In November, BuzzFeed published an explosive report detailing a complaint from a former Conyers staffer. The report stated that the congressman “settled a wrongful dismissal complaint in 2015 with a former employee who alleged she was fired because she would not ‘succumb to [his] sexual advances.’”
Since then, other women have come forward to make allegations of sexual misconduct against the congressman.
Last week, House Democratic Nancy Pelosi called on Conyers to resign. “The allegations against Congressman Conyers, as we have learned more since Sunday are serious, disappointing, and very credible,” Pelosi said on Thursday.
On Tuesday, Conyers, who is the longest-serving member of the U.S. House of Representatives, said that his “legacy can’t be compromised or diminished in any way” by the allegations. “This too shall pass, and I want you to know that my legacy will continue through my children,” he said.