Al Franken Under Pressure As BAND OF Democratic Senators DEMANDS Him To Resign
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Updated at 2:25 p.m. ET
Several Democratic senators, including the chamber’s second- and third-ranking Democrats, called Wednesday for Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., to step straight down amid allegations that he inappropriately touched many women.
“Senator Franken’s patterns was wrong. He has admitted from what he performed,” Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., the Senate Democratic whip, tweeted, adding Franken “should resign from the Senate.”
“I’m shocked and appalled by Senator Franken’s behavior,” Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., the Senate’s No. 3 Democrat, tweeted, “It’s clear if you ask me that this has been a deeply harmful, persistent problem and a clear style over a long period of time. It’s time for him to stage aside.”
Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y.; Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii; Kamala Harris, D-Calif.; Claire McCaskill, D-Mo.; Maggie Hassan, D-N.H.; Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis.; Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich.; Maria Cantwell, D-Clean.; and Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., likewise released statements or postings on public media Wednesday contacting Franken to step straight down.
Gillibrand, in a Facebook post, said she’s been “shocked and disappointed” to learn that a colleague whom she actually is “keen on personally has engaged in behavior towards women that is unacceptable.”
In her statement, Hirono cited Time magazine’s naming of the “#MeToo” activity as its person of the entire year, saying it regarded what “women have always known: There are men among us who use their positions of power and influence to control, harass and assault women.” Hirono said she struggled with her decision, calling Franken “an excellent Senator and a friend. “But,” she said, “that cannot excuse his patterns and his treatment of women of all ages.”
The ten women were joined by eight male Senate Democrats: Durbin and Sens. Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, Sherrod Dark brown of Ohio, Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Michael Bennet of Colorado, Patrick Leahy of Vermont, Ed Markey of Massachusetts, and Jeff Merkley of Oregon. And Tom Perez, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, also known as on Franken to resign.
There is mounting frustration in the Senate Democratic Caucus about the allegations against Franken, according to three Senate Democratic aides who job for three separate senators who are calling for Franken to resign.
Early in the day, Politico published a tale about a new, anonymous accuser against Franken. The woman informed Politico that Franken attempted to forcibly kiss her in 2006. Franken denies that allegation.
Several other women have said Franken engaged in sexual misconduct with them – including groping or kissing them or attempting to do so. Just about all but not all the alleged incidents happened before Franken was elected to the Senate. The Senate Ethics Committee has begun an inquiry into the allegations against Franken. Franken’s office said Wednesday that the senator will make an announcement Thursday but did not provide any longer details.
The calls for Franken to step straight down came a day soon after Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., declared his resignation after more than 50 years in the House of Representatives. The finish of Conyers’ half-century tenure in office was the consequence of days of pressure after multiple allegations of sexual harassment had been leveled against him. Another Residence Democrat, Rep. Ruben Kihuen of Nevada, is also under great pressure to resign after a former marketing campaign staffer alleged he previously sexually harassed her.
Here is a list of the Democrats who’ve called on Franken to resign:
Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis.
“I believe it’s best for Senator Franken to resign.”
Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo.
“Sexual harassment and misconduct should never be acceptable. I understand Senator Franken will make an announcement tomorrow morning, and I’m confident he’ll do the right thing and step aside.”
Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio
“I have listened to my female co-workers, to women I work with and women in my entire life. And I concur the time has arrive for Senator Franken to stage aside.”
Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash.
“Senator Franken’s actions are disturbing, egregious, and demonstrate a style of serious misconduct and abuse. It is time for Senator Franken to resign from office.”
Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa.
“I agree with my colleagues who’ve stepped forward and called on Senator Franken to resign. We can’t just believe women when it’s convenient.”
Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind.
“Senator Franken’s conduct and behavior are unacceptable and he should resign.”
Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., Zero. 2 Democrat in the Senate
“Senator Franken’s patterns was wrong. He has admitted from what he performed. He should resign from the Senate.”
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y.
“While Senator Franken is certainly entitled to possess the Ethics Committee conclude its assessment, I believe it would be better for our region if he directed a clear message that almost any mistreatment of women in our contemporary society isn’t acceptable by stepping aside to let someone else serve.”
Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif.
“Sexual harassment and misconduct should not be allowed by anyone and should not occur everywhere. I believe the great thing for Senator Franken to accomplish is step down.”
Sen. Maggie Hassan, D-N.H.
“It is clear that Al Franken has engaged in a style of egregious and unacceptable patterns toward women. He should resign.”
Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D.
“We must invest in zero tolerance – which is certainly where I really believe we as a region and Congress should be – and that means Senator Franken should stage down.”
Sen. Mazie Hirono D-Hawaii
“Today, I am contacting my colleague Al Franken to stage aside. I’ve struggled with this decision because he’s been an excellent Senator and I consider him a friend. But that cannot excuse his patterns and his mistreatment of women of all ages.”
Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt.
“Senator Franken’s situation has become untenable. I am concerned that a good prompt Ethics Committee investigation and suggestions will not come soon enough. He has to step aside.”
Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass.
“I join my co-workers in calling for Senator Franken to stage aside and resign. Sexual harassment is certainly unacceptable, entirely inappropriate and can’t be tolerated.”
Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo.
“Al Franken should resign.”
Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore.
“Senator Franken has said he will try to make an announcement tomorrow, and I hope that he will do the right thing. It really is in the best interest of our region for him to stage aside.”
Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., the No 3. Democrat in the Senate
“I’m shocked and appalled by Senator Franken’s behavior. It’s clear if you ask me that this has been a deeply hazardous, persistent problem and a clear style over a long period of time. It’s time for him to stage aside.”
Tom Perez, chairman of the Democratic National Committee
Sen. Al Franken should stage down. Everyone must show the responsibility of building a lifestyle of trust and value for women in everyday industry and workplace, and which includes our party.”
Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich.
“Sexual harassment is certainly unacceptable. I really believe Senator Franken must do the right thing and resign.”
NPR congressional correspondent Susan Davis and NPR producer Brakkton Booker contributed to the report.