Senator Al Franken (D-Minn.) is preparing to vacate his seat in Congress amid multiple allegations of sexual misconduct. The departing lawmaker gave a final speech on the Senate floor–that included an inducement for the remaining body to seek the truth as well as making several parting shots at the president and his administration–Thursday.
Franken said he would step down on Jan. 2, after resigning under pressure from his party over eight sexual abuse allegations, the severity and intentions of which he has denied.
During his farewell speech, Franken took several shots at President Donald J. Trump, accusing him of abandoning the middle class with the new tax bill, which Republicans have said is false. They accuse Democrats of misrepresenting the legislation.
Franken also questioned the Trump administration’s immigration policies, and applauded the Women’s March movement and recent Democratic election victories. He also expressed concern for America, saying there seems to be an increasing inability to have rational, political debate based on facts.
“As I leave the Senate, I feel I have to admit that it feels like we’re losing the war for truth,” Franken said. “And maybe it’s already lost.
“And if that’s the case, if that’s what happens, then we have lost the ability to have the kinds of argument that help build consensus.”
Franken said American voters would need to help restore truthful debate in Washington.
“We will always have the Democracy we deserve, if not the government we want,” he said. “It’s going to take ordinary Americans deciding to become more informed consumers of political news and opinion, and deciding that they’re willing to be part of the argument themselves, instead of simply tuning out all of the noise.”
“And if they do, I know that we will get this country back on track,” Franken said.
As Franken gave his speech, many of the female Democratic senators who said he should resign were not in the chamber. Several other Democrats praised Franken after he spoke.
Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton (D) has appointed Lt. Gov. Tina Smith (D) to fill Franken’s seat.
You can hear Franken’s comments about truth in politics in the video below.
Franken’s full farewell address may be heard in the following video.
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