Six female Democratic Senators are calling on Senator Al Franken (D – Minnesota) to resign another woman came forward on Wednesday to accuse him of sexual conduct in 2006, prior to his becoming a senator.
Franken, who has denied the latest claim that he tried to forcibly kiss a former congressional staffer, has announced that he will make an announcement on Thursday about his political future.
“I do not feel that he should continue to serve,” said Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D – New York). “Everyone will make their own judgment.”
Gillibrand was joined on by five of her Senate colleagues, though things escalated quickly from there. So far, 14 senators have now called on Franken to step down, MSNBC reported Wednesday.
Gillibrand expanded in a lengthy statement on Facebook.
“As the mother of two young boys, we owe it to our sons and daughters to not equivocate, but to offer clarity,” she said. “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.”
The cascading denunciations suggest the Gillibrand press conference did not come as a surprise to her colleagues.
Al Franken should resign.
— Claire McCaskill (@clairecmc) December 6, 2017
It is clear that Al Franken has engaged in a pattern of egregious and unacceptable behavior toward women. He should resign.
— Sen. Maggie Hassan (@SenatorHassan) December 6, 2017
I believe it is best for Senator Franken to resign.
— Sen. Tammy Baldwin (@SenatorBaldwin) December 6, 2017
Today, I am calling on my colleague Al Franken to step aside. I’ve struggled with this decision because he’s been a good Senator and I consider him a friend. But that cannot excuse his behavior and his mistreatment of women. (thread)
— Senator Mazie Hirono (@maziehirono) December 6, 2017
On Wednesday, Politico published another accusation against Franken from a former Democratic congressional aide who said Franken tried to forcibly kiss her back in 2006 after a taping of his radio show.
“He was between me and the door and he was coming at me to kiss me. It was very quick and I think my brain had to work really hard to be like ‘Wait, what is happening?’ But I knew whatever was happening was not right and I ducked,” the aide, who wished to remain anonymous, told Politico. “I was really startled by it and I just sort of booked it towards the door and he said, ‘It’s my right as an entertainer.'”
In a rare press conference last week, Franken said he took the allegations seriously and welcomed a Senate Ethics committee investigation.
The Franken imbroglio first began last month when radio host Leeann Tweeden wrote about a moment when she said Franken groped her and forcibly kissed her while the two were on tour with the USO in 2003.
Tweeden’s account also included a damning photo of Franken holding his hands over Tweeden’s chest while she slept.