U.S. senator resigns amid sexual misconduct allegations
08 December, 2017, 01:52 | Author: Chad Mckenzie
Disgraced Sen. Al Franken resigned his seat on Thursday after a growing tsunami of sexual misconduct and assault charges prompted even his Democratic colleagues to abandon him.
"Let me be clear, I may be resigning my seat but I am not giving up my voice", the Minnesota Democrat said from the Senate floor.
"I was shocked, I was upset, but in responding to their claims, I also wanted to be respectful of that broader conversation", Franken said.
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. Some of the allegations against me are simply not true. He says some of the allegations against him are false, while others he "remembers differently".
Contrast that with Franken's statement, at a news conference late last month, that, "there are some women, and one is too many, who feel that I have done something disrespectful that's hurt them, and for that I am tremendously sorry".
The push for Franken's resignation comes as ex-judge Roy Moore runs for Senate in Alabama amid allegations of sexual misconduct with teenagers when he was in his 30s decades ago. "I will continue to stand up for the things I believe in as a citizen and as an activist", Franken said.
With support from fellow Democrats vanishing, Franken had a stark decision to make: heed the calls to leave, and allow the party to close ranks and try to gain the moral high ground amid a tidal wave of sexual harassment allegations that have lashed the political world - or stay and fight. Franken has denied some of the accused actions and apologized for others.
Seventeen male colleagues followed, including top Democrat Chuck Schumer, who heaped major pressure on Franken by issuing a statement saying he should step down "immediately".
There will be a special election in November 2018 for Minnesota voters to officially elect a replacement for the remainder of Franken's term. Republicans hold a 52-48 majority in the Senate.
Then on Wednesday, Politico reported a former Democratic congressional aide said Franken tried to kiss her forcibly in 2006.
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Franken repeatedly emphasized his respect for women.
"I would do it all over again in a heartbeat", he said.
Franken was the keynote speaker at a September 23 event at the Belmont in downtown Austin. Franken said the accusations against him do not match up with who he is. A few appeared to wipe tears from their eyes.
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