Pointing to the on-going careers of white politicians accused of sexual assault, including Minnesota Senator Al Franken, Alabama Senatorial candidate Roy Moore, and even President Donald Trump, members of the Congressional Black Caucus expressed anger about the “double standard” that Representative John Conyers was held to this week.
Conyers was the longest tenured Democrat in the House of Representatives, but was still forced to resign amidst sexual assault allegations. Conyers helped found the Congressional Black Caucus, and was considered a permanent leader of the Democratic Party. However, as a black man, he was pushed out while many of his white counterparts remain employed.
“Certainly it seems as if there is indeed a double standard,” said Representative Marcia Fudge of Ohio. “When it happens to one of us, we’re guilty until proven innocent. They’re just finally starting to talk about Blake Farenthold, who is a member sitting here who paid out $84,000.”
“Do I think he was treated like everyone? No, he wasn’t. I think it was an easy call for people to talk about him,” added Representative Cedric Richmond, the chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus.. “You didn’t see Speaker Ryan calling for the resignation of Blake Farenthold, who settled a case. Conyers denies it; Franken admits it.”
“It’s a horrible situation, and if the allegations are true, then retirement or resignation was appropriate,” Richmond added. “The problem for me was I had the congressman vehemently denying it, and I have very credible-sounding victims.”
“When the deal goes down, John isn’t well. He was beginning to suffer memory loss, and physically, he isn’t well,” added Representative Alcee Hastings of Florida, who was the subject of an ethics investigation years ago. “But sure, there are members of the Congressional Black Caucus who feel John was done in. I respect that, but I don’t have that feeling.”