nounced his decision in a subdued Senate chamber three weeks after the first accusations of sexual misconduct emerged but just a day after most of his Democratic colleagues proclaimed he had to go. His remarks underscored the bitterness many in the party feel toward a GOP that they say has made a political calculation to tolerate Trump and Alabama GOP Senate candidate Roy Moore, who’ve both been accused of sexual assaults that they’ve denied.
On a 2005 audio tape released shortly before last year’s presidential election, Trump is heard talking about grabbing women, and several women accused him of sexual assaults. Women in Alabama have accused Moore of unwanted sexual contact and pursuing romantic relationships when they were teenagers and he was in 1970s.
Asked about Franken’s comment about him on Thursday, Trump merely replied, “I didn’t hear it, sorry.”
Democratic Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton will name a temporary Franken successor, who will serve until a special election next November. His lieutenant governor, Tina Smith, has been most frequently mentioned for the temporary appointment.
Franken’s departure is a headache for Democrats, exposing another seat in a midterm election that already had them defending two dozen incumbents.
Republicans are eager to recapture a seat that Franken won in 2008 by a tiny margin and only after a monthslong recount. They’re also hoping the sexual harassment scandal that engulfed Franken will saddle Democrats with enough baggage to help Republicans break through in 2018.
won statewide in Minnesota since Tim Pawlenty won a second term as governor in 2006. But GOP operatives see a positive sign in Trump’s narrow loss in 2016 — by just 1.5 percentage points — in a state that hasn’t gone Republican in the presidential race in generations.
Franken’s exit, which he said would occur in “coming weeks,” made him the latest figure from politics, journalism and the arts to be toppled since October. That’s when the first articles appeared revealing sexual abuse allegations against Hollywood titan Harvey Weinstein and energizing the #MeToo movement in which women have named men they say abused or harassed them.
Franken’s comments appended a melancholy coda to the political career of the one-time TV funnyman who became one of his party’s most popular and bellicose liberals.
Just two days earlier, John Conyers, D-Detroit, a Rep.
civil rights hero who’d been the House’s longest-serving current member, resigned after facing sexual harassment allegations of his own.
The two departures underscored the party’s determination to show no tolerance for such behavior, a strategy that can bring stunningly fast conclusions to political careers but that party leaders believe could give them high moral ground on a subject that’s shown no sign of fading.
At least eight women had accused Franken of inappropriate sexual behavior. Until this week, he’d said he’d remain in the Senate and cooperate with an investigation into his behavior.
Franks, meanwhile, an eightterm lawmaker, staunch conservative and fierce opponent of abortion, said in a statement that he never physically intimidated, coerced or attempted to have any sexual contact with any member of his congressional staff.
Instead, he says, the dispute resulted from a discussion of sur-