For the third-ranking House Democrat, James Clyburn, the sexual assault allegations against his colleague, John Conyers, are literally black and white.
Also at this morning's House Democratic caucus: James Clyburn compared Conyers' accusers to the child murderer Susan Smith, who initially claimed a black man had abducted her kids. Clyburn said, these are all white women who've made these charges against Conyers.— Robert Draper (@DraperRobert) November 29, 2017
Yes, according to 2 sources. One told me Clyburn has used the Susan Smith parallel more than once, to members & staffers. https://t.co/3SjKCzjBh8— Robert Draper (@DraperRobert) November 29, 2017
Even the Congressional Black Caucus is admitting that Clyburn used this case to defend Conyers. Does Democratic leadership actually believe that if Conyers’ accusers were black that they’d be more credible?
While Democrats like DNC Chair Tom Perez refused today to condemn Conyers, Democratic Rep. Kathleen Rice criticized Clyburn for a separate controversial statement he made today: That members of Congress should be held to a different standard on sexual assault because they have been “elected.”
ANDERSON COOPER: The Chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, Cedric Richmond and Congressman James Clyburn were confronted in the halls of congress about Conyers and I just wanted to play that exchange.
REPORTER (CLIP): Other men in other industries have faced similar accusations and have gotten out of the way, resigned, stepped down, far faster than he has, right?
REP. CEDRIC RICHMOND (CLIP): I don’t know, you have to give me some examples.
REPORTER (CLIP): Harvey Weinstein, Charlie Rose, Matt Lauer.
REP. JAMES CLYBURN (CLIP): Who elected them?
COOPER: Who elected them? Is that an appropriate response?
REP. KATHLEEN RICE: I don't think so. I actually think that the fact we, all of us here, as representatives and senators are sent here because of the public trust. We put our name on a ballot. We ask the public to trust us to go and do their work for them in Washington and we should honor that trust. I can't speak for the reaction of those -- my two colleagues there but it's that kind of response that leads every day Americans to say, ‘what is going on in Washington?’ Why is everyone in the private sector held accountable and yet when the same kind of behavior is exposed in Washington, D.C., they circle the wagons and protect their own, and I for one am not going to be in that position.