Former comedian turned politician Al Franken was once among the most popular Democrats in the Senate, enjoying strong support from both voters and fellow Democratic Senators. Now, several Democratic senators are calling for Franken’s resignation as yet another sexual abuse allegation has emerged. At least 23 Democratic Senators have publicly called on Franken to resign. Update: As of 5:20 PM EST, 32 Democratic Senators have publicly called on Franken to resign.
The most recent accusations came from a former Democratic aide, who claims that Franken tried to forcibly kiss her. The alleged incident occurred back in 2006, after a taping of his radio show. Franken was not yet a member of the Senate. Allegedly, Franken followed the woman, who was leaving the studio with her boss. Franken ducked in for a kiss, which she dodged. Franken allegedly said it was his “right as an entertainer.”
By Wednesday morning, seven Democratic females have publicly called for Franken to resign.
The most recent allegation marks the sixth such accusation. Democrats have been trying to establish themselves on the moral high-ground, frequently criticizing President Trump, GOP Senate candidate Roy Moore, and others for alleged sexual abuse. However, the accusations against Franken are undermining their ability to claim that moral high-ground.
By Wednesday morning, seven Democratic females have publicly called for Franken to resign. Those ten Senators include Tammy Baldwin, Kirsten Gillibrand, Kamala Harris, Maggie Hassan, Mazie Hirono, Claire McCaskill, and Patty Murray, the third highest ranking Senate Democrat. Three male senators have also called for Franken’s resignation, including Sherrod Brown, Bob Casey, and Joe Donnelly.
The first ten have since been joined by at least 13 more Democratic Senators. The wave of demands for resignation have put Franken’s political career in serious doubt. For a Senator who just a few years ago seemed in position to make a run at the White House, the fall from grace has been swift and absolute.
Senator Brown took to Twitter, stating:
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
Senator Hirono also stated:
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
Pressure behind the scenes is likely even more intense. Franken was one of the more well-known Senators, but has been a member for less than a decade. Despite his star power, Franken is not as firmly entrenched as other politicians.
However, even long tenure may not be enough to protect politicians accused of sexual harassment. Democratic Congressman John Conyers, from Detroit Michigan, retired this week after being accused of sexual misconduct by several women. Conyers was one of the longest-serving congressmen in history, having served for over 50 years.
Sexual Abuse Allegations Are Rampant
Sexual abuse allegations have taken center stage this year, with numerous high-profile business people, entertainers, and others being accused of sexually abusing people. A Republican Senate Candidate, Roy Moore, has been accused of sexually harassing children. Moore was once the front-runner in the Senate race but has slowly fallen behind in the polls.
Uber’s CEO Travis Kalanick was forced out this year, following accusations that he had created a toxic work culture that enabled sexual harassment. Fellow Silicon Valley star Dave McClure was forced to resign from 500 Startups, an organization he helped found after sexual abuse allegations emerged.