Several Democratic senators are calling for the resignation of Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) on Wednesday, as another accuser steps forward with new allegations of abuse.
Earlier on Wednesday, a seventh accuser said that when she was a Democratic congressional aide in 2006, Franken tried to forcibly kiss her after a taping of his radio show. The incident, which occurred three years before he became a U.S. senator, occurred when the unidentified aide was left behind in the studio with Franken after her boss left.
“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 said in an interview. “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.’”
The unidentified aide joins six other women who have accused Franken of sexual misconduct, and another who said he bullied her, prompting the charge, led by six women in the Senate, calling for Franken to step down.
Over a dozen Democratic senators have now called for Franken’s resignation, with the numbers growing by the hour. The first six arrived in successive, with potentially coordinated statements on social media Wednesday (see below).
“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,” Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) wrote on Facebook, the first in an avalanche of statements against Franken.
Five additional female Democratic senators followed Gillibrand, including Sens. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Claire McCaskill (Mo.), Mazie Hirono (Hawaii), Tammy Baldwin (Wis.) and Maggie Hassan (N.H.).
By midday, additional senators joined them, including Debbie Stabenow (Mich.), Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.), Bob Casey (Pa.), Sherrod Brown (Ohio) and Edward Markey (Mass.).
Franken’s office said he will make an announcement regarding the situation on Thursday.
Sexual harassment and misconduct should not be allowed by anyone and should not occur anywhere. I believe the best thing for Senator Franken to do is step down.
— Kamala Harris (@SenKamalaHarris) December 6, 2017
Al Franken should resign.
— Claire McCaskill (@clairecmc) 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
I believe it is best for Senator Franken to resign.
— Sen. Tammy Baldwin (@SenatorBaldwin) 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
Sexual harassment is unacceptable. I believe Senator Franken should do the right thing and resign.
— Sen. Debbie Stabenow (@SenStabenow) December 6, 2017
We must commit to zero tolerance – which is where I believe we as a country and Congress should be – and that means Senator Franken should step down. Full statement: pic.twitter.com/4qrZB0mBTo
— Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (@SenatorHeitkamp) December 6, 2017
I agree with my colleagues who have stepped forward today and called on Senator Franken to resign. We can’t just believe women when it’s convenient.
— Senator Bob Casey (@SenBobCasey) December 6, 2017
We have a serious problem in this country with sexual harassment and assault – in Congress, in Hollywood, in business, in the military – everywhere.
— Sherrod Brown (@SenSherrodBrown) December 6, 2017
I have listened to them. I have listened to my female colleagues, to women I work with and women in my life. And I agree the time has come for Senator Franken to step aside.
— Sherrod Brown (@SenSherrodBrown) December 6, 2017
I join my colleagues in calling for Senator Franken to step aside and resign. Sexual harassment is unacceptable, completely inappropriate and cannot be tolerated.
— Ed Markey (@SenMarkey) December 6, 2017
As elected officials, we should be held to the highest standards—not the lowest. The allegations against Sen. Franken describe behavior that cannot be tolerated. While he’s entitled to an Ethics Committee hearing, I believe he should step aside to let someone else serve.
— Kirsten Gillibrand (@SenGillibrand) December 6, 2017
Kirsten Gillibrand: “We as elected leaders should absolutely be held to a higher standard, not a lower standard, and we should fundamentally be valuing women.” pic.twitter.com/qw1p1kNFYg
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) December 6, 2017
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