House Dems Show Trump How To Deal With Pervs In Their Ranks (TWEETS)

John Conyers at the 2017 National Action Network Legislative and Policy Conference (image courtesy Conyers' Facebook)
John Conyers at the 2017 National Action Network Legislative and Policy Conference (image courtesy Conyers' Facebook)

In a sane world, Donald Trump’s presidency should have ended on Wednesday afternoon, when he declared that he would rather have a suspected sexual harasser and child molester in the Senate than a Democrat. He made that loud and clear when he all but endorsed former Alabama chief justice Roy Moore for the former seat of Jeff Sessions even in the face of mounting evidence that he harassed women and girls, and also pursued girls young enough to be his daughter.

But none of that matters. All that mattered to Trump is that the Democrat in the race, Doug Jones, is a “liberal person.” Just in case Trump didn’t make that clear, he googled down via one of his typical Sunday morning tweetstorms.

Really, Mr. Trump? So a liberal would be worse than a man whom nine women say pursued or molested them, corroborated by multiple witnesses? And a liberal would be worse than a man who thinks he can answer those charges by just screaming “FAKE NEWS”? And a liberal would be worse than a man who was caught red-handed lying about his role in a divorce case, and who thinks a newspaper doing its job is a “worthless piece of crap“?

To be sure, the Democrats have to deal with their own sexual harassment imbroglios as well. Namely, allegations that Senator Al Franken harassed multiple women, as well as news that Congressman John Conyers paid a settlement to a former staffer to settle claims of sexual harassment. But with those two tweets, Trump effectively removed any right for the GOP to say anything at all about Franken or Conyers.

It looked like the Democrats fumbled away this early Christmas gift a few hours later, when House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi seemingly hedged on whether Conyers should be out the door. Appearing on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Pelosi told host Chuck Todd that Conyers was “an icon in our country” for his work on civil rights and other issues, and deserved due process.

The collective response on Twitter was, “Nancy, what the hell are you thinking?” Granted, Conyers is a legend. He has served 27 terms in Congress, and is the last surviving member of the massive Democratic freshman class swept in by Lyndon Johnson’s 1964 landslide. His fingerprints are on nearly every significant piece of civil rights legislation in the last half-century.

But none of that should even begin to make up for the facts spelled out in Buzzfeed’s article about the settlement Conyers paid to that staffer. The facts–including multiple staffers saying that Conyers made passes at them and touched them inappropriately–are almost a carbon copy of the Harvey Weinstein affair.

It initially looked like Pelosi had fallen down hard. But Buzzfeed noticed something else Pelosi said in discussing the Conyers matter.

Exactly what that “right thing” was came two hours after “Meet the Press” signed off, when Conyers announced he was standing down as ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee while the Ethics Committee reviews the allegations.

Conyers was referring to Mike Cernovich, the far-right blogger who first got his hands on the details of the settlement. However, in a classic case of a stopped clock being right twice a day, Cernovich asked Buzzfeed to check them out because he knew his reputation would lead to attempts to shoot the messenger if he broke them himself. Remember, Cernovich is one of the more notorious promoters of the Pizzagate conspiracy theory.

The conclusion is obvious. At some point either before or after her appearance on “Meet the Press,” Pelosi called Conyers and gave him an ultimatum–stand down, or be removed. That was the only acceptable move on Pelosi’s part. Conyers has been either a committee chairman or a ranking minority member almost without interruption since 1989. To put it mildly, it’s a big deal for him to be knocked back down to the backbench.

Given what we know about this case, Conyers is delusional if he thinks he will be around for a 28th term, let alone get his ranking member’s post back. He represents much of western Detroit, as well as many of its western suburbs. This district is a sapphire-blue, 56 percent black district, and whoever wins the Democratic primary will be assured of at least two decades in Congress. It’s inconceivable that somebody in Detroit isn’t at least thinking about a primary challenge–that is, if Conyers doesn’t have the good sense to retire or resign.

The contrast with how Trump and his diehard supporters have handled the Moore affair could not be more stark. While Trump and the right-wing fringe are circling the wagons around Moore, the House Democrats have effectively knocked Conyers down to a buck private–hopefully as a preliminary step toward easing him into retirement.

Let there be no doubt. The GOP no longer has any moral authority to say anything about sexual assault and sexual harassment. After all, that party’s de facto leader has seen fit to lend his imprimatur to a man who is almost certainly a depraved and debauched jerk. Hopefully the voters will remember this in 2018. Hopefully they will also remember how the Democrats didn’t shy away from sidelining one of their legends.

(featured image courtesy Conyers’ Facebook)

Darrell is a 30-something graduate of the University of North Carolina who considers himself a journalist of the old school. An attempt to turn him into a member of the religious right in college only succeeded in turning him into the religious right's worst nightmare--a charismatic Christian who is an unapologetic liberal. His desire to stand up for those who have been scared into silence only increased when he survived an abusive three-year marriage. You may know him on Daily Kos as Christian Dem in NC. Follow him on Twitter @DarrellLucus or connect with him on Facebook. Click here to buy Darrell a Mello Yello.