Representative John Conyers announced his “retirement” from the United States Congress today.
Conyers’ record for the longest-serving African American congressman will end at 53 years, effective today—which makes it more resignation than retirement. He proceeded to endorse his oldest son, John Conyers III, to succeed him in Congress, according to The Detroit News.
Conyers is essentially resigning due to the many accusations of sexual harassment leveled against him by former coworkers. He had already stepped down from his position on the House Judiciary Committee. Conyers continues to deny all claims of mistreatment and misconduct, and in the past has said that they were part of some conspiracy to discredit him, although he provided no proof for his assertion.
With one final statement towards those who continue to support him, Conyers said goodbye: “I want everyone to know how much I appreciate the support that – the incredible, undiminished support I’ve received across the years from my supporters, not only in my district but across the country, as well.”
Conyers has been accused of groping female coworkers, showing up to meetings naked, requesting sexual favors from them and asking them to arrange transport for women with whom they suspected he was having extramarital affairs. On top of that, the initial report from Buzzfeed included claims that Congress’ system of sexual harassment allegations stopped victims from going public, essentially silencing them in order to protect politicians, all while using public funds to settle at least one lawsuit. Resignation was his only feasible choice.