Henry Rodgers, DCNF
WASHINGTON D.C.- Minnesota Democratic Sen. Al Franken officially resigned in a speech on the Senate floor Thursday amid multiple allegations of sexual misconduct.
Franken’s resignation comes the day after several dozen of his Democratic colleagues called for the Minnesota Democratic to step aside.
Leeann Tweeden first accused Franken in late November of forcibly kissing her and groping her on a USO tour in 2006. Franken apologized for his behavior, but continued to face allegations from a number of other woman, who say he sexually mistreated them while serving in the U.S. Senate. Seven women now have accused Franken of sexually misconduct.
Minnesota’s female Democratic lieutenant governor, Tina Smith, will reportedly replace Franken to prevent a special election which would give Republicans an opportunity to run for Franken’s now vacant seat.
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As Franken said at his resignation speech:
“Thank you, Mr. President. A couple months ago, I felt that we had entered an important moment in the history of this country. We were finally beginning to listen to women about the ways in which men’s actions affect them. The moment was long overdue. I was excited for that conversation and hopeful that it would result in real change that made life better for women all across the country and in every part of our society. Then the conversation turned to me. Over the last few weeks a number of women have come forward to talk about how they felt my actions had affected them. I was shocked. I was upset. But in responding to their claims, I also wanted to be respectful of that broader conversation because all women deserve to be heard and their experiences taken seriously. I think that was the right thing to do.
I also think it gave some people the false impression that I was admitting to doing things that, in fact, I haven’t done. Some of the allegations against me are simply not true, others I remember very differently. I said at the outset that the Ethics Committee was the right venue for these allegations to be heard and investigated and evaluated on their merits; that I was prepared to cooperate fully and that I was confident in the outcome. You know, an important part of the conversation we’ve been having the last few months has been about how men abuse their power and privilege to hurt women. I am proud that during my time in the Senate I have used my power to be a champion of women and that I’ve 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.”
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