THAT’S AL, FOLKS

FRANKEN: WHY ME? ‘I didn’t do any­thing wrong, but I’m leav­ing’ ‘What about Trump and Roy Moore?’

New York Post - - FRONT PAGE - By BOB FRED­ER­ICKS Ad­di­tional re­port­ing by Marisa Schultz and Reuters

He’s not sorry — but Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) said he’s re­sign­ing any­way af­ter a num­ber of women ac­cused him of grop­ing them, while sug­gest­ing that he’s be­ing held to a dif­fer­ent stan­dard than Pres­i­dent Trump.

A de­fi­ant Sen. Al Franken an­nounced on Thurs­day that he would re­sign, but de­cried the dou­ble stan­dard on sex­ual mis­con­duct that al­lowed Pres­i­dent Trump and Repub­li­can Se­nate can­di­date Roy Moore to go un­pun­ished.

“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 re­peat­edly preyed on young girls cam­paigns for the Se­nate with the full sup­port of his party,” said the Min­nesota Demo­crat, who was fac­ing pres­sure from his own party to step down amid sex­ual-mis­con­duct al­le­ga­tions.

The “Satur­day Night Live” comic-turned-loud­mouthed lib­eral law­maker did not apol­o­gize for his own be­hav­ior — which al­legedly in­cluded grop­ing and forcible kiss­ing — and com­plained that some claims against him were false.

“Some of the al­le­ga­tions against me are sim­ply not true. Oth­ers, I re­mem­ber very dif­fer­ently,” he said in the speech on the Se­nate floor.

He added: “I am proud that dur­ing my time in the Se­nate I have used my power to be a cham­pion of women. And that I have earned a rep­u­ta­tion as some­one who re­spects the women I work along­side ev­ery day. I know there’s been a very dif­fer­ent pic­ture of me painted over the last few weeks, but I know who I re­ally am.”

But “all women de­serve to be heard and their ex­pe­ri­ences taken se­ri­ously,” he said, be­fore an­nounc­ing he would leave the Se­nate in “com­ing weeks.”

He did not give a rea­son for de­lay­ing his exit, but a Min­nesota Demo­cratic Party in­sider said Franken wanted to make sure his state had a vote on tax re­form and other is­sues.

The se­na­tor re­ferred in his speech to Moore, whom the GOP sup­ports de­spite al­le­ga­tions of sex­ual mis­con­duct against him, in­clud­ing claims he mo­lested teens. Moore has de­nied the al­le­ga­tions.

Franken also in­voked the “Ac­cess Hol­ly­wood” tape that sur­faced last year in which Trump is heard brag­ging about grab­bing women by the gen­i­tals and forcibly kiss­ing them.

Re­ply­ing Thurs­day, White House spokes­woman Sarah Huck­abee San­ders said vot­ers had ad­dressed that is­sue “when they elected Don­ald Trump to be pres­i­dent.”

Franken was es­sen­tially forced to give up his seat af­ter mount­ing claims of sex­ual mis­con­duct and as­sault prompted even his Demo­cratic col­leagues to aban­don him.

His sup­port col­lapsed Wed­nes­day af­ter an­other woman ac­cused him of forcibly try­ing to kiss her.

“Enough is enough,” Sen. Kirsten Gil­li­brand (NY) said, as she and at least nine other fe­male Demo­cratic sen­a­tors called for him to re­sign.

But some of those sen­a­tors were emo­tional Thurs­day, hug­ging Franken af­ter he left the podium.

Min­nesota Gov. Mark Day­ton, a Demo­crat, would ap­point Franken’s re­place­ment, mean­ing the party would likely not lose the seat. He was ex­pected to tap Lt. Gov. Tina Smith, who would hold the seat un­til a spe­cial elec­tion in Novem­ber, the Star Tri­bune said.

Franken to the end in­sisted that what­ever he did, it wasn’t that bad.

“I know in my heart that noth­ing I have done as a se­na­tor — noth­ing — has brought dis­honor on this in­sti­tu­tion,” he said.

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 re­peat­edly preyed on young girls cam­paigns for the Se­nate with the full sup­port of his party. S AlFk (DMi ) an­nounc­ing his res­ig­na­tion Thurs­day

WALK OF SHAME: Sen. Al Franken leaves the Capi­tol Build­ing on Thurs­day af­ter an­nounc­ing his res­ig­na­tion on the floor of the Se­nate.

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