Nearly three weeks after allegations of sexual harassment surfaced against Al Franken, the comedian turned Minnesota Senator has announced his resignation. In a speech on the Senate floor, he said: "Today I am announcing that in the coming weeks, I will be resigning as a member of the United States Senate," Franken said on the Senate floor. "It's become clear that I can't both pursue the Ethics Committee process and at the same time remain an effective senator for [the people of Minnesota]." He maintained, though, that his name would’ve been cleared in the ethics investigation, saying: “Some of the allegations against me are simply not true. Others I remember very differently.”
The Senator was first accused of forcibly kissing and groping a Los Angeles radio host while the two were on a USO trip together in 2006. Since then, five more women have come forward with accounts of Franken allegedly groping them, including the most recent instance where he allegedly tried to force a kiss on a woman while claiming it was his “right as an entertainer.”
Throughout the allegations, Democratic lawmakers were slow to call for his resignation, but that changed on Wednesday. In a coordinated effort, Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y.; Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii; Claire McCaskill, D-Mo.; Maggie Hassan, D-N.H.; Patty Murray, D-Wash.; and Kamala Harris, D-Calif., called for Franken to resign. After these female lawmakers issued statements, more lawmakers and and Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez joined the call for his resignation.
His announcement that he is resigning comes days after Tuesday’s retirement announcement from Democratic Representative John Conyers Jr. Conyers, who is the longest-serving member of the House and the longest-serving African-American congressman in history, stepped down after severe pressure from lawmakers in response to allegations from multiple women that he had harassed them, including one who said she was fired for refusing to have sex with him.
In Franken’s speech today, he also called out the Republican Party, who have fully embraced both our Sexual Assaulter in Chief, Donald Trump, and the the alleged child predator Roy Moore, an Alabama judge running for Congress who the Republican National Party has thrown their full financial support behind despite claims that he tried to date teenagers when he was in his 30s.
"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 and a man who has repeatedly preyed on young girls campaigns for the Senate with the full support of his party," Franken said.