Senator Al Franken (D-Minnesota) announced his resignation on the Senate floor, following heavy pressure from his fellow Democrats to step aside over allegations of sexual misconduct. Franken said he won’t give up his voice as an activist.
“Today I am announcing that in the coming weeks I will be resigning as a member of the United States Senate,” Franken said in a speech that lasted 11 minutes.
He did not admit to any of the allegations of sexual misconduct, saying some of them are “simply not true” and he remembers other instances “very differently.”
Looks like Franken is trying to temporize: “In the coming weeks” he’ll resign? He’s hoping that Roy Moore wins and is seated, and he’ll be able to reverse his resignation.
— Steven F. Hayward (@stevenfhayward) December 7, 2017
Franken used the opportunity to lash out at President Donald Trump and GOP Senate candidate in Alabama, Roy Moore, both of whom have been accused by Democrats of sexual assault. Franken said there was “some irony” in the fact that he is resigning while Trump is still in office and Moore is running for a Senate seat with the support of his party.
More than a dozen Senate Democrats called on Franken to resign on Wednesday, after a sixth woman accused him of sexual misconduct. Some analysts have pointed out that Franken’s bitter tone suggested he was being forced out by the party, rather than leaving on his own volition.
Pretty clear from this speech that Franken was pushed out against his will, and that he doesn’t think he did anything wrong.
— Sean Davis (@seanmdav) December 7, 2017
“I may be resigning my seat, but I am not giving up my voice,” Franken said, adding that he will continue to advocate progressive causes as an activist.
“I am going to be just fine,” he said.
Franken was first elected to the Senate in 2008, with a razor-thin margin of just 300 votes. Before turning to politics, he was a comedian on the popular television show Saturday Night Live.
This is the second time this week that a congressional Democrat was pushed out by claims of sexual misconduct. On Monday, Representative John Conyers Jr. (D-Michigan) said he would retire effective immediately, after serving in the House since 1965.