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‘Enough is enough’: Women Democratic Sens. want Franken out

Dec 06, 2017
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More than a half dozen Democratic women in the Senate on Wednesday called on their embattled colleague, Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota, to resign after multiple women accused him of harassment or sexual misconduct.

Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire, Mazie Hirono of Hawaii, Kamala Harris of California, Patty Murray of Washington and Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin all put out statements within minutes of one another saying it was time for Franken to go.

The calls came a day after Rep. John Conyers, a Michigan Democrat who has also been accused of sexual misconduct, announced he was resigning following calls from leaders in his own party to quit.

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“While Senator Franken is entitled to have the Ethics Committee conclude its review, I believe it would be better for our country if he sent a clear message that any kind of mistreatment of women in our society isn’t acceptable by stepping aside to let someone else serve,” Gillibrand wrote in a Facebook post.

“Enough is enough,” she wrote. “The women who have come forward are brave and I believe them.”

Franken plans an announcement on Thursday. It is not known what he intends to say.

Moments after Gillibrand’s post, McCaskill tweeted, “Al Franken should resign,” while Hassan said, “It is clear that Al Franken has engaged in a pattern of egregious and unacceptable behavior toward women.”

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Harris tweeted, “Sexual harassment and misconduct should not be allowed by anyone and should not occur anywhere,” adding, “I believe the best thing for Senator Franken to do is step down.”

Hirono referred to the choice by Time magazine to name “The Silence Breakers” of the #MeToo movement as its 2017 Person of the Year on Wednesday in calling on Franken to quit.

By noon, three male Democratic senators — Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, Joe Donnelly of Indiana and Sherrod Brown of Ohio — had joined their female colleagues in saying Franken should resign.

Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez echoed the calls, saying that Franken “should step down” and that “everyone must share the responsibility of building a culture of trust and respect for women in every industry and workplace, and that includes our party.”

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Republican women in the Senate joined the flood, too. Susan Collins of Maine told reporters that “it would be best for the Senate if he followed the advice of his Democratic colleagues and resign.”

Multiple women have come forward in recent weeks alleging Franken had harassed them.

In November, Leeann Tweeden, a radio news anchor in Los Angeles, was the first to accuse Franken, alleging that he forcibly kissed her and groped her breasts while she was sleeping in 2006, before he became a lawmaker, at a USO show for service members.

A photograph backed up her accusation.

Image: Comedian Al Franken and Leeann Tweeden Image: Comedian Al Franken and Leeann Tweeden

Comedian Al Franken and Leeann Tweeden during a USO Tour in 2006. via KABC

Days later, Lindsay Menz, 33, told CNN that Franken grabbed her buttocks when they posed for a photo together in 2010.

Additional women have come forward in the weeks since with similar allegations, including one who spoke anonymously to Jezebel and described herself as a “former elected official in New England.” She alleged that Franken had given her an unwanted “wet, open-mouthed kiss” on her cheek after an interview on his radio show in 2006.

Most recently, Politico reported earlier Wednesday that a former Democratic congressional aide alleged Franken tried to forcibly kiss her in 2006 after taping his radio show. According to Politico, Franken told the aide, “It’s my right as an entertainer.” Franken has denied that that happened.

Last month, Franken said he was “embarrassed” and “ashamed” and he apologized to supporters and the women who say he groped them; he also said he supported the Senate Ethics Committee investigation into the allegations against him and would cooperate.

But, he added at the time that he “cannot speculate” if more harassment claims would surface. They did.

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