Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) wouldn’t say Monday whether his colleagues Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) and Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) should resign over multiple sexual assault allegations that include, in Franken’s case, photographic evidence. While Ellison didn't want to call for resignations, he was willing to say that his colleagues should "examine their consciences."
"Well, you know, Amy, you know, here's the thing,” Ellison told Democracy Now’s Amy Goodman when she directly asked if he thought Franken and Conyers should resign. “I would ask every member of Congress, including those, to look inside their conscience and ask themselves just a few questions: Can you be effective? If you stood up your whole life to stand up for the rights of people—and both of them have—is it not a moment now where you apply some standards to yourself that you have asked others to live by?"
Ellison added that he’s hoping “for a society where every person, women, can go to work and just do their job without any fear of being harassed, mistreated, treated like second-class-citizenship individuals and the social trends that are driving us, I think, are leading our society to a better place. So, you know, I'll trust that they will do the right thing for their constituents, for our country."
“Specifically, should John Conyers resign?” Goodman then followed up.
“I heard your question. I heard your question. I heard your question,” Ellison replied
“So you're not willing to say that?” She asked.
“I'm going to say that I'm going to ask them both to examine their conscience and do the right thing for all of us,” Ellison replied.
Franken has issued a lengthy apology for the incident with radio anchor Leeann Tweeden, specifically the photo she released showing Franken groping her while she slept.
However, Franken was a bit vaguer in response to allegations of groping from multiple women who say he took advantage of photo opportunities to grab them from behind.
Franken explained this in a recent interview by arguing he’s “someone who, you know, hugs people.”
BuzzFeed initially reported that Rep. Conyers’ office paid more than $27,000 in 2015 to settle a complaint of sexual harassment. A second woman also accused Conyers of unwanted sexual advances in 2015 and 2016.
Conyers has admitted to the settlement but said that his office "resolved the allegations – with an express denial of liability – in order to save all involved from the rigors of protracted litigation."
He added that he was "expressly and vehemently" denying any wrongdoing.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi called on the House Ethics Committee last week to expedite their investigation of Conyers.