Al Franken Called Accuser ‘Beautiful Woman’ in 2010 Speech on Senate Floor (Video)

“During the show … I was kind of the co-host with a beautiful woman named Leann Tweeden,” Franken said of USO tour

Last Updated: November 16, 2017 @ 10:26 AM

In a 2010 speech on the floor of the U.S. Senate, Sen. Al Franken recalled working on a USO tour with “a beautiful woman named Leann Tweeden” — the same woman who accused him on Thursday of kissing and groping her without her consent.

“We’d do comedy routines and we’d introduce music and introduce the cheerleaders, and I’d go out and do a monologue and this was something I’d do for a number of years,” the Minnesota Democrat said in the 2010 speech of his work co-hosting performances for U.S. troops stationed overseas.

In a blog post for her employer L.A.’s 790 KABC, Tweeden said that Franken forced an unwanted kiss on her during rehearsals for the sketch.

“I suspected what he was after, but I figured I could turn my head at the last minute, or put my hand over his mouth, to get more laughs from the crowd,” Tweeden wrote.

When Tweeden relented, after several requests from Franken, and rehearsed the skit, she said he grabbed her by the back of the head and forced his tongue down her throat.

“I immediately pushed him away with both of my hands against his chest and told him if he ever did that to me again I wouldn’t be so nice about it the next time,” Tweeden said.

Franken said Thursday through a spokesman, “I certainly don’t remember the rehearsal for the skit in the same way, but I send my sincerest apologies to Leeann.”

The former “Saturday Night Live” star also apologized for a photo that Tweeden posted that showed Franken posing with a sleeping Tweeden with his hands cupped over her breasts. “As to the photo, it was clearly intended to be funny but wasn’t,” he said. “I shouldn’t have done it.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Franken himself have called for the ethics committee to investigate, and Franken has said he “will gladly cooperate.”

“As with all credible allegations of sexual harassment or assault, I believe the Ethics Committee should review the matter. I hope the Democratic Leader will join me on this,” McConnell said on Thursday shortly after the accusation came to light. “Regardless of party, harassment and assault are completely unacceptable — in the workplace or anywhere else.”

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