These are not just baseless allegations against Al Franken. There is prosecutable photographic evidence. Should Franken resign his Senate seat? Of course!
Two prominent members of Minnesota’s Democratic–Farmer–Labor Party are calling on Sen. Al Franken to resign his Senate seat following allegations of sexual misconduct, according to the Washington Examiner.
Although many other Democrats have called the former comedian’s actions disturbing, state auditor Rebecca Otto and Megan Thomas, president of the party’s official Feminist Caucus, say he should leave office.
The allegations were made Thursday morning by radio host Leeann Tweeden, who said Franken harassed her during a 2006 USO trip to the Middle East, before he was elected to the Senate in 2008.
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Tweeden said Franken wrote a play to be performed in front of troops featuring a kiss, and then forced his tongue into her mouth after insisting on practice. A photo also shows a grinning Franken’s hands over Tweeden’s breasts while she was asleep.
Otto, a candidate for governor in Minnesota, said in a statement that “I believe it’s in the best interest of Minnesotans and of women everywhere for Senator Franken to resign, and to set an example to powerful men across America that sexual harassment will not be tolerated.”
Thomas, meanwhile, told the Washington Examiner that Franken’s misconduct was “every woman’s nightmare on a bus.” In a Facebook post, the longtime party organizer wrote that while she appreciated his progressive vote record, the fear Franken will instill in women is enough reason for his departure.
“The ‘political’ answer is to wait and not overreact. But I also know that the next time I see him in person I will, however fleeting or unneeded, be afraid because of what he is doing in that picture. No one should fear their elected representatives, so, sadly, for me, I think the Senator should resign,” she wrote.
After the initial allegations, Franken called for an ethics investigation into himself, and many Democratic colleagues called the allegations disturbing, but stopped short of demanding his resignation.
Otto’s statement was the first from a major officeholder to demand his resignation. Many state Democratic officials are standing by Franken for now, while expressing concern about the allegations.
On Thursday afternoon, a second accuser, conservative Media Equalizer co-founder Melanie Morgan, allegedunwanted calls from Franken in 2000 after a TV appearance together.
The claims about Franken come after weeklong political uproar involving women who say that when they were minors, Alabama Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore romantically pursued them, in two cases involving alleged sexual touching and one alleged force. Moore was allegedly in his 30s at the time.
Progressive opinion on what Franken should do appears mixed for now.
Toni Van Pelt, president of the National Organization for Women, told the Washington Examiner she feels it’s useless to demand his resignation.
“We could ask all of the men in Congress to resign, is that what you’re asking me?” she said. “You know that mostly all men do this kind of thing to women.”
Van Pelt said it’s more important to work toward changing the nation’s culture rather than demand that one senator leave office, though she does describe Moore as a different “degree” than Franken and an unacceptable potential senator.
“It’s like saying there’s a good airline or a good bank, saying there’s some entity out there that is not sexist,” Van Pelt added. “They all should resign, every man in every industry. Maybe that’s a good thing because then women can take those positions and then we’ll finally get equal pay.”
Franken’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.