Over the past several weeks, a number of allegations of sexual misconduct have emerged against Minnesota Democrat Sen. Al Franken, allegations he half-heartedly “apologized” for while disputing their veracity.
Pressure began to mount for him to step down from his perch in the Senate, culminating in dozens of elected Democrats publicly demanding his resignation Wednesday.
According to NPR, Franken finally announced his resignation from the Senate seat he has held since 2008 in a speech delivered on the floor of the chamber Thursday morning.
To be sure, Franken won’t actually relinquish his seat until the end of the year, and it is expected that an Ethics Committee investigation into the allegations against him will proceed regardless of his impending departure.
The out-going senator began his speech by praising the women coming forward to expose sexual misconduct among the powerful leaders of various industries — and noted how important it was for their stories to be heard and taken seriously — but submitted that he was not one of those powerful men who abused women from his position.
“I am proud that during my time in the Senate I have used my power to be a champion of women and that I have earned a reputation as someone that respects the women I work alongside every day,” Franken stated.
“I know there has been a very different picture of me painted in the last few weeks, but I know who I really am,” he added in refutation of the allegations against him.
The senator went on to claim that none of his actions had brought “dishonor” to the institution of the Senate, and maintained that the Ethics Committee would ultimately clear him of any wrongdoing, but that he would be resigning anyway.
Predictably, it didn’t take long before Franken made reference to President Donald Trump and Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore, and spoke of the “irony” that he would be stepping down “while a man who has bragged on tape about his history of sexual assaults sits in the Oval Office, and a man who has repeatedly preyed on young girls campaigns for the Senate with the full support of his party.”
The senator droned on for several more minutes, lamenting the fact that this was the “worst day” of his political life and that there was so much more that needed to be done, but expressed confidence that young progressives would take up his mantle and keep working hard to fulfill the left’s agenda.
You can watch his resignation speech right below:
According to Mediaite, reaction to Franken’s resignation drew a mixed response on social media from the various political pundits who inhabit the Twitter-sphere.
A few seemed sad to see him go and expressed their continued support for the senator, but most people on both sides of the aisle essentially said “good riddance” to his stated plan of departure.
One of the most notable takeaways people drew from Franken’s speech is that he didn’t actually apologize or accept responsibility for the actions he has been accused of committing, which left a few wondering exactly why he was resigning and what message his resignation would send.
Q: If @alfranken is not admitting guilt, denies some accusations, remembers others differently and believes he would prevail in an ethics investigation, then why did he quit?
A: Dems threw him under the bus so they can keep beating up Trump and Moore over their allegations.
— Larry Elder (@larryelder) December 7, 2017
We think conservative pundit Larry Elder summed it all up best. This is little more than a politically expedient move on the part of the Democrats, and Franken was urged to fall on his sword for the good of the party.
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