WASHINGTON (AP) — Minnesota Democrat Al Franken, facing fresh sexual misconduct allegations and vanishing support from fellow Democrats, will reveal his political future Thursday, with signs pointing to him resigning from Congress. Democratic colleagues urged him to step aside and said they expected he would “do the right thing.”
Franken’s office said he would make an announcement at 11:45 a.m. in a speech on the Senate floor.
A majority of the Senate’s Democrats called on the two-term lawmaker to quit after a woman emerged Wednesday morning saying he forcibly tried to kiss her in 2006. Hours later, another woman said Franken inappropriately squeezed “a handful of flesh” on her waist while posing for a photo with her in 2009. That brought the number of women alleging misconduct by Franken to at least eight.
Franken, the former comedian who made his name on “Saturday Night Live,” has gained respect as a serious lawmaker in recent years and has even been mentioned in talk about the 2020 presidential campaign.
If he quits, Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton, a fellow Democrat, would name a temporary replacement. The winner of a special election in November would serve through the end of Franken’s term in January of 2021. Among the possibilities is Lt. Gov. Tina Smith, a trusted ally.
“Enough is enough,” Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York declared on Wednesday. “We need to draw a line in the sand and say none of it is OK, none of it is acceptable, and we, as elected leaders, should absolutely be held to a higher standard.”
A torrent of Democrats quickly followed Gillibrand.
“I’m shocked and appalled by Sen. Franken’s behavior,” said Sen. Patty Murray of Washington state. “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.”
Though the writing appeared to be on the wall, Franken’s departure was not certain. A tweet posted Wednesday evening on his Twitter account said: “Senator Franken is talking with his family at this time and plans to make an announcement in D.C. tomorrow. Any reports of a final decision are inaccurate.”
However, Democratic Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York said in a statement, “I consider Senator Franken a dear friend and greatly respect his accomplishments, but he has a higher obligation to his constituents and the Senate, and he should step down immediately.”
Franken has acknowledged and apologized …read more
Source:: Deseret News – U.S. & World News