Former Sen. Al Franken contends he is “certainly not running” for anything but posted a Thanksgiving message about the “year of reflection” that he has had.
The Minnesota Democrat, who resigned under pressure last year after allegations that he inappropriately touched several women, took to Facebook on Thanksgiving to reflect on dialogue around the #MeToo movement as he promised to “listen and learn.”
“Representing Minnesota in the Senate was the greatest job I’ll ever have, and I miss it more than you know,” Franken wrote on Facebook Thursday, noting the many encouraging notes and comments he has received from supporters since his resignation.
“I’ve also spent a lot of time over this past year thinking about the broader conversation we’ve been having about the experience of women in this country,” he wrote. “I know that, for so many people, this issue raises a lot of powerful and painful feelings. This conversation can also be incredibly complicated. I don’t think it’s my place to weigh in on all the debates — but I will continue to listen and learn.”
He noted how difficult last year’s holiday was for him and his family – wife of 43 years, Franni, and their two children – amid the multiple allegations of sexual misconduct. While Franken had apologized for some of the alleged incidents, he denied the other claims in his resignation speech last December.
“What I will say, though, is that, after a year of reflection, I’m finding it a lot easier to be grateful this Thanksgiving,” he wrote on Facebook. “Grateful for having had the chance to help make a difference on issues I care about. Grateful to all my supporters in Minnesota and across the country who made that journey not just possible, but joyful. Grateful to everyone who has reached out to wish me well – and, more importantly, kept carrying forward the fights I was proud to lead as a Senator.”
The 67 year-old former Saturday Night Live comedian, who served as Minnesota’s U.S. senator from 2009 to 2018, noted that he is “certainly not running for anything,” but hopes to be able to “make a difference” again in the future.
“As we gather around the table this year, we have a lot to celebrate, including a whole bunch of thrilling Democratic victories. But we also have a whole lot to worry about when it comes to our country,” he wrote. “And there’s so much more work left to do. I still miss being in the fight every day, and while I’m certainly not running for anything, I hope that, in the next year, I’ll have the chance to help make a difference again.”
The disgraced former senator told a Minnesota CBS News affiliate in July that he had not ruled out another political run.
“Well, see, if I say anything there, you’ll put it in the story,” Franken told WCCO when asked about running again. “I don’t know. I don’t know. I haven’t ruled it out. I haven’t ruled it in.”
Franken and many of his fans think he was given a raw deal and even before his Thanksgiving missive, there was speculation he was gearing up to get back in the game, despite efforts by his own party to get him to resign.
In an op-ed published by the Washington Examiner, David Freddoso slammed Franken as a “classic hypocrite” and declared that people “trying to rehabilitate his career” are “enablers who deserve to be called out.”
“There has been a broader effort in recent months to rehabilitate the unapologetic serial groper, who was forced out of office for attacking and harassing so many women that his own partisan colleagues couldn’t avoid throwing him under the bus,” Freddoso wrote. “This broader effort can’t be considered outside of the fact that Franken was a huge draw for Democratic fundraisers, and his disappearance has been a disappointment for many.”
He concluded that any attempt by Franken or his supporters to get him back in office should be opposed.
“There’s no need to bring back any of the creeps who were already flushed out of politics by #MeToo,” he added.
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