U.S. senator Al Franken resigns over sexual misconduct allegations

08 December, 2017, 02:03 | Author: Kim Reid
  • Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand D-N.Y. answers a question about her statement on Sen. Al Franken D-Minn. at the end of a news conference on sexual harassment in the workplace Wednesday Dec. 6 2017 on Capitol Hill in Washington

The push for Franken's resignation started after a woman came forward last month to say he had badgered her into an unwanted kiss before he was a senator and groped her while she slept.

There was something missing from Al Franken's speech on Thursday.

"I extend my deepest regrets to the women, who have had to endure their unwanted experiences with Senator Franken. I'm going to be just fine".

This isn't over. The women who made the original allegations are nearly certain to speak out further.

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"I know there's been a very different picture of me painted over the last few weeks but I know who I really am", Franken said.

"No, we don't intend to do so", said Texas Democratic Party Deputy Executive Director Manny Garcia, when asked whether the party would return or donate the money raised with the help of Franken to charity. But this moment of reckoning about our friends and colleagues who have been accused of sexual misconduct is necessary, and it is painful.

Pressure built throughout the day on Wednesday for Franken to step down.

Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton said he has not yet decided on who he will appoint to fill Franken's seat, but expects to make a decision shortly. "But this decision is not about me". CNN has not yet verified the claims in the Politico story, but Franken flatly denied the allegations int he report.

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"I know that I am going to have to be much more conscious when in these circumstances", he went on, "much more careful, much more sensitive, and that this will not happen again".

More than 20 Democratic senators, including Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, were present on the Senate floor for Franken's seat, and Franken's wife and family watched from the gallery overlooking the chamber. "We were finally beginning to listen to women about the ways in which men's actions affect them", he said. "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". Instead, he talked about his own feelings, saying, "This has been a tough few weeks for me". He gave ammunition to those who believe their accounts are part of a right-wing plot, and to the many who still think women who report harassment are vindictive harpies seeking to harm men. "I have used my power to be a champion of women".

Mr Trump has also endorsed Alabama Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore, who has been accused by multiple women of sexual misconduct with them when they were teenagers and he was a deputy district attorney in his thirties.

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