Al Franken has announced he will be stepping down as a Minnesota Senator, a position he’s held since 2009. Franken’s resignation comes in the wake of multiple sexual misconduct allegations and pressure from Democrats.
“Today I am announcing that in the coming weeks, I will be resigning as a member of the United States Senate,” he said.
The former SNL comedian let fly some heated parting shots for Donald Trump and Republicans, namely Roy Moore, facing similar allegations. "I, of all people, am aware that there is some irony that I am leaving while a man who has bragged on tape about his history of sexual assault sits in the Oval Office, and a man who has preyed on underage girls is running for the Senate with the full support of his party,” Franken said. “Irony” is certainly one word for it…
Despite acknowledging that “we [have] entered an important moment in the history of this country” by “finally beginning to listen to women about the ways in which men’s actions affected them,” Franken says was nonetheless “shocked and “upset” by the allegations surfaced against him. He went as far as to “some of the allegations” are “completely untrue, ‘and claims he remembers other alleged situations “very differently.”
LA news anchor Leeann Tweeden was the first woman to come forward with accusations against Franken, claiming he forcibly kissed her and groped her during a 2006 USO tour. Since then, several woman have come forward with similar allegations. Franken responded with a public apology and a Senate Ethics Committee inquiry into his behavior.
As the two-term Senator delivered his emotional resignation speech on the Senate floor, many of the Democratic female senators who called for him to step down looked visibly upset. With Franken's exit, the Democratic party is outpacing Republicans to become the party with a sub-zero-tolerance stance on sexual misconduct or allegations thereof. On Tuesday, senior member of the House, Democratic Rep. John Conyers Jr. of Michigan, quit after his aides claimed he had sexually harassed them.
Franken’s resignation will not change the balance of partisan power in the Senate. Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton. Dayton (D) will most likely tap Lt. Gov. Tina Smith, a fellow Democrat, to replace Franken until a special election can be held in November 2018.