Summary: Female and male Democrats are calling on their colleague Senator Al Franken to step down from his position after being accused by several women of sexual misconduct.
Democratic Senator Al Franken of Minnesota has been accused by several of women of sexual harassment. A group of seven female Democratic senators has stepped forward, calling for him to resign. The seven Democratic senators – Kirsten Gillibrand, Patty Murray, Claire McCaskill, Mazie Hirono, Maggie Hassan, Kamala Harris, and Tammy Baldwin – released their statements Wednesday.
Gillibrand of New York wrote on her Facebook, “I have been shocked and disappointed to learn over the last few weeks that a colleague I am fond of personally has engaged in behavior towards women that is unacceptable. I consider Senator Franken to be a friend and have enjoyed working with him in the Senate in our shared fight to help American families. …We have to rise to the occasion, and not shrink away from it, even when it’s hard, especially when it’s hard … I have spent a lot of time reflecting on Senator Franken’s behavior. Enough is enough. The women who have come forward are brave and I believe them. At this moment, we need to speak hard truths or lose our chance to make lasting change.”
Hassan of New Hampshire stated that he “engaged in a pattern of egregious and unacceptable behavior toward women. He should resign.”
Harris of California tweeted, “Sexual harassment and misconduct should not be allowed by anyone and should not occur anywhere.” The female senators are urging for zero tolerance for any sexual harassment or abuse.
Since the female senators released their statements, male senators have followed their example by releasing their own statements. Senator Bob Casey of Pennsylvania tweeted, “I agree with my colleagues who have stepped forward today and called on Senator Franken to resign. We can’t just believe women when it’s convenient.”
Sen Sherrod Brown of Ohio noted that Franken appeared “entitled” when he was investigated by the Senate Ethics Committee regarding his past conduct. Franken has promised to “cooperate completely.”
Chairman of the Democratic National Committee, Tom Perez, made his announcement on Twitter for Franken to resign. Additional Senators joined the group within hours. A rep for Franken indicated he will be making a statement on Thursday.
The latest allegations against Franken come from a former Democratic congressional aide. The woman claims Franken attempted to kiss her after he taped one of his radio shows in 2006 before he became a senator. Franken said he is “ashamed” of the allegations, apologizing for his behavior.
He claims he has no memory of the first five women who accused him groping them during photo ops. Franken states that the incident with Leeann Tweeden, occurred differently than she claims.
Learn about Tweeden’s version of the incident here.
Franken said last week, “I know that I am going to have to be much more conscious in these circumstances – much more careful, much more sensitive. It’s going to take a long time for me to regain people’s trust, but I hope that starting work today that I can start to do that.”
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To learn more about other politicians accused of sexual misconduct, read these articles:
- Women Accuse US Senate Candidate Roy Moore of Sexual Indiscretions
- House Addresses Sexual Harassment Problems on Capitol Hill
- Multiple Women Accuse Democrat Congressman John Conyers of Sexual Harassment