Anyone who saw Pelosi's "icon" defense of Rep. Conyers won't be surprised.
Nancy wasn't remotely on board with the #MeToo movement heading into Congress. And behind the scenes, there was no doubt a Hillaryesque, "Boys will be boys" approach to the whole thing. In public, Pelosi had to be angry about sexual harassment. As long as it involved Republicans. But when it involved a "civil rights icon" or a former illegal alien turned Congressional rising star... she kept quiet.
A freshman Democratic congressman said Tuesday that House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi knew last year about sexual harassment allegations against him by a former campaign worker, but continued to campaign for him regardless.
Rep. Ruben Kihuen, D-Nev., was accused by his former campaign finance director of touching her inappropriately and pressuring her for dates and sex despite her rejections. The woman, identified only as Samantha, went public with her claims in an article published by BuzzFeed last week.
On Saturday, Pelosi said she found the woman's claims against Kihuen convincing and called on the 37-year-old lawmaker to resign. Rep. Ben Ray Lujan, D-N.M. and the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), also had pressed for Kihuen's resignation, saying House members and candidates should be held to the highest standard, and anyone guilty of sexual harassment or assault should not hold elected office.
But in an interview with ABC News, Kihuen said Pelosi and Lujan knew about Samantha's allegations last year.
"They looked into them. They didn't find anything, and they continued investing millions of dollars in my campaign," said Kihuen, who unseated incumbent Republican Cresent Hardy in last November's election. "They went out there and campaigned for me."
Representatives for Pelosi and Lujan denied Kihuen's claims in separate statements to ABC News. The network reported that the DCCC had spent more than $3 million to help Kihuen's campaign.
So now we've got a different kind of, "He said, she said".
The message he's sending is that if Pelosi tries to force him out, he'll take some bodies with him.
But Kihuen's version seems fairly plausible. Doing background research on your own is routine. And the atmosphere was different enough that no one would have cared. This stuff was and is routine in certain circles. As we're finding out.
Sexual harassment was a matter of lip service, not principled opposition.
Now Pelosi, after sufficient pressure, is doing her best, "I'm shocked there's gambling here" routine. But no one's buying it.