Once popular Minnesota Democratic Senator and former SNL cast member Al Franken has resigned from his seat in the Senate amid sexual misconduct allegations. He is expected to be replaced by Minnesota Lt. Governor Tina Smith, also a Democrat. A special election will be held next November to permanently fill the seat.
Here’s the gist of his statement:
Franken: This is a "long overdue" conversation about men's actions, I was "excited" for that conversation, "and then that conversation turned to me….I was shocked, I was upset, but in responding to their claims, I also wanted to be respectful of that broader conversation."— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) December 7, 2017
Franken: "I am proud that during my time in the Senate, I have used my power to be a champion of women. And that I have earned a reputation as someone who respects the women I work alongside every day."— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) December 7, 2017
Franken: My words shouldn't create the "false impression that I was admitting to doing things that in fact I haven't done"; some are "not true," others "I remember very differently."— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) December 7, 2017
Franken: "I know there's been a very different picture of me painted…but I know who I really am." I've done "nothing" to bring dishonour on the Senate.— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) December 7, 2017
Franken resigned today after 29 Democratic Senators called on him yesterday to do so after a seventh woman came forward alleging sexual misconduct. It’s hard to say if the Democrats would have forced Franken’s hand if not for Roy Moore, but I’d like to think so.
A lot of Franken supporters are rightfully disappointed and outraged over his resignation because Republicans who have acted even more inappropriately have not stepped down, nor will they. I get that, but it’s a little like parenting: You don’t refuse to discipline your child because a parent with a shittier kid lets him get away with it. Franken was a great Senator, and losing him is a blow, but I do not think it makes the Democratic party weaker. I believe it makes it stronger and more capable of running on the issues because it honors and respects the very women Franken and other Democrats have vowed to represent. Franken sets the example of what is acceptable and what is not.
“What I want you to know, even today, is that even on the worst day of my political life, I feel that it was all worth it,” Franken concluded in his speech. “I would do it all over again in a heartbeat.”