Democratic Congresswoman Kathleen Rice stormed out of a meeting of the House Democratic Caucus Wednesday, after becoming “frustrated,” she says, with how her colleagues were responding to sexual harassment allegations made against fellow Congressman John Conyers.
According to The Washington Post’s Dave Weigel, Rice left the meeting and caught up with reporters outside, where she told the scrum that, “I don’t have time for meetings that aren’t real.”
Rice was one of two Democrat members of Congress to immediately call for Conyers’ resignation. Other Democrats, including the party’s minority leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi, hemmed and hawed for days before finally declaring only Thursday that Conyers should step down.
As recently as Sunday morning, Pelosi was defending the seven-term Congressman, calling him an “American icon,” even as more women came forward to allege that Conyers had sexually harassed and verbally abused them, and alleged that the Congressman frequently took meetings wearing only his underwear.
Pelosi called for Conyers’ resignation Thursday only because his initial accuser — who had chosen to remain anonymous — broke her silence and spoke to media, outlining details about the Congressman’s untoward behavior.
Rice had strong words for her leader, accusing Pelosi of turning back the clock on feminism. She told the Daily Beast that Pelosi “set women back and, quite frankly, our party, back decades,” and that Pelosi’s Sunday morning comments were downright shameful.
“I think that we ceded the moral high ground on Sunday when our leader said on Meet the Press that John Conyers was an icon and we don’t even know who these women are, when she was fully aware that the woman in question was bound by a nondisclosure agreement,” Rice said.