At least ten Democratic senators have called on Sen. Al Franken to resign after multiple women accused him of sexual misconduct.
Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (New York), Patty Murray (Washington), Claire McCaskill (Missouri), Mazie Hirono (Hawaii), Kamala Harris (California), Maggie Hassan (New Hampshire) and Tammy Baldwin (Wisconsin) all issued statements within minutes of each other on Wednesday afternoon. They were quickly joined by male senators Bob Casey (Pennsylvania), Sherrod Brown (Ohio) and Joe Donnelly (Indiana).
“I consider Senator Franken to be a friend and have enjoyed working with him in the Senate in our shared fight to help American families,” Gillibrand said in a Facebook statement. “But this moment of reckoning about our friends and colleagues who have been accused of sexual misconduct is necessary, and it is painful.”
“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,” she added.
Murray, the highest-ranking woman in the Senate, wrote on Twitter that she was “shocked and appalled by Senator Franken’s behavior. It’s clear to me that this has been a deeply harmful, persistent problem and a clear pattern over a long period of time. It’s time for him to step aside.”
Franken apologized last month after radio host Leann Tweeden accused him of groping her while she was sleeping during a USO tour to entertain American troops. Franken agreed to be investigated by the Senate Ethics Committee.
Subsequently, more woman came forward saying that Franken had behaved inappropriately toward them, with at least six other woman accusing him of groping or forcibly kissing them. Franken denied the recent forcible kissing allegation but said in other cases that he “never intentionally engaged in this kind of conduct.”
Update, 12:45 p.m.: Franken’s office stated that he will be making an announcement on Thursday.