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