Senator Al Franken has resigned following multiple allegations of sexual harassment. Franken said in a Senate speech that the women ‘deserve to be heard and believed.’
After over two dozen Democratic senators called for his resignation, Minnesota Senator Al Franken, 66, left office on December 7, 2017, following allegations of sexually harassing at least seven women. Franken announced he would be resigning, effective at the end of the year, in a long-awaited speech on the Senate floor. Franken told his fellow Senators, and the country that while “some allegations are true, some I remember differently,” but that it was the right choice to leave office.
“I said at the offset that the Ethics Committee was the best venue for these allegations to be heard, and that I was prepared to cooperate fully,” he said, but ultimately decided it would be best to resign. Though he denied the claims against him, he said that he would be resigning out of respect for the women who came forward. “We were finally beginning to listen to women about the ways in which men’s actions affect them,” Franken said, referring to the Me Too movement. “That moment was long overdue. But in responding to their claims, I also wanted to be respectful. Because all women deserve to be heard.”
He brought up the sexual assault allegations against President Donald Trump, as well, along with the allegations against Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore, who has been accused of sexually assaulting underage girls. “There is some irony in the fact that I am leaving while a man who has bragged on tape about his history of sexual assault sits in the Oval Office,” Franken said. “And a man who has repeatedly preyed on young girls campaigns for the Senate with the full support of his party.”
At least 18 Democratic senators demanded Franken resign, including: Kirsten Gillibrand (NY), Mazie Hirono (HI), Maggie Hassan (NH), Kamala Harris (CA) Patty Murray (WA), Tammy Baldwin (WI), and Claire McCaskill of (MO). Male democratic senators have finally spoken up, as well. Senators Bob Casey (PA), Joe Donnelly (IN), Sherrod Brown (OH), Ed Markey (MA), Michael Bennet (CO), and Dick Durbin (IL) have all called for resignation. DNC chairman Tom Perez also said Franken should step down.
Franken has denied the allegations lobbed against him on multiple occasions, including during a previous press conference. Outside his Senate office the week before he announced his resignation, Franken said he’d “be more careful in these encounters or in these situations,” and that he wouldn’t resign. Life comes at you fast. Franken was first accused in November by radio host and former model Leeann Tweeden, who said that Franken allegedly forcibly kissed her during a USO tour, back when he was still doing comedy. A photo taken during the trip shows Franken grabbing her breast while she’s asleep on an airplane.
— CNN (@CNN) December 7, 2017
Sen. Al Franken: "There is some irony in the fact that I am leaving while a man who has bragged on tape about his history of sexual assault sits in the Oval Office." https://t.co/HgnJl4IPml pic.twitter.com/zSfxqKtgEo
— ABC News (@ABC) December 7, 2017
An anonymous woman came forward on December 6 and told Politico that Franken allegedly attempted to forcibly kiss her in 2006 after a taping of his radio show. When she refused, he allegedly told her that it was his “right as an entertainer.” Franken again denied any wrongdoing, “This allegation is categorically not true and the idea that I would claim this as my right as an entertainer is preposterous,” he said in a statement. He said at the time that he would be “fully cooperating” with the Senate Ethics Committee investigation into the allegations.
Franken becomes the second Democratic senator to resign in December after Senator John Conyers (d-MI) stepped down after 52 years in office. He had been accused of sexual harassment by several different female congressional aides. He denied all wrongdoing, but was pressured by his colleagues to resign. He has since endorsed his son, John Conyers, for his seat in Congress.
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