Sen. Al Franken Resigning Amid Sexual Misconduct Allegations
Sen. Al Franken announced from the Senate floor Thursday that he will be resigning in the coming weeks, after the majority of his Democratic colleagues in the Senate urged him to step aside. Multiple women accused Franken of inappropriately touching them or attempting to kiss them.
Franken said he has denied some of the allegations against him, and recalls other instances differently. He believed the Senate Select Committee on Ethics was the appropriate venue for managing those accusations. But he recognized that had had to step aside, and that in the weeks ahead, "I will be resigning as a member of the United States Senate."
"Let me be clear, I may be resigning my seat but I am not giving up my voice," the Minnesota Democrat said from the Senate floor. "I will continue to stand up for the things I believe in as a citizen and as an activist," Franken said.
More than 20 Democratic senators, including Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, were present on the Senate floor for Franken's seat, and Franken's wife and family watched from the gallery overlooking the chamber. Franken said the accusations against him do not match up with who he is. Franken's speech did not include the word "sorry" in it.
"I know there's been a very different picture of me painted over the last few weeks but I know who I really am," Franken said.
But Franken said he also recognized the irony in stepping down, while more than a dozen women have accused President Trump of inappropriate behavior. Without naming him, Franken alluded to the "Access Hollywood" tape in which Mr. Trump talked about grabbing women.
"I, of all people, am aware that 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 on the Senate floor. "But this decision is not about me."
As political analysts — including CBS News Political Director Steve Chaggaris have pointed out — puts a spotlight on Republicans, as they determine what to do about Roy Moore, the GOP candidate for U.S. Senate in Alabama who is accused of pursuing teenage girls when he was in his 30s. The Republican National Committee resumed its financial support of Moore earlier this week, after Mr. Trump endorsed Moore ahead of the Dec. 12 special election against Democrat Doug Jones.
Franken said that even on Thursday, the "worst" day of his political life, he was grateful for his time spent serving the people of Minnesota.
"I would do it all over again in a heartbeat," he said.
Minnesota's governor, Democrat Mark Dayton, said he will be announcing a temporary replacement for Franken in the weeks ahead.