Al Franken announces resignation from the Senate

Al Franken announces resignation from the Senate
Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) arrives to cast a vote in the Senate Chamber inside of the U.S. Capitol building November 30, 2017 in Washington, DC. He resigned Thursday amid sexual harassment allegations. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) announced his resignation from the Senate Thursday amid sexual harassment allegations.

What did Franken say?

In remarks on the Senate floor, Franken said he was “shocked” and “upset” by the allegations against him, but “all women deserve to be heard and their experiences taken seriously.”

He nevertheless called some of the allegations “not true,” and that he was prepared to cooperate with an ethics investigation.

“I am proud that during my time in the Senate I have used my power to be a champion of women,” he said. “And that I have earned a reputation as someone who respects the women I work alongside every day. I know there has been a very different picture of me painted over the last few weeks, but I know who I really am.”

Franken called serving in the Senate an “honor,” but announced that he will be resigning “in the coming weeks” since he can no longer be “effective.”

He argued there is irony in his resignation as President Donald Trump sits in the Oval Office and Roy Moore runs for Senate in Alabama. Both men have also faced allegations of sexual misconduct.

Franken’s resignation follows calls from his Democratic colleagues to do so.

“This has been a tough few weeks for me,” Franken said, thanking his family for their support.

What were the allegations?

Multiple women have accused Franken of groping them without their consent. Leeann Tweeden, the first woman to publicly accuse Franken of misconduct, said Franken sexually harassed her while they were on a 2006 USO tour. She also made public a picture of Franken appearing to grope her breasts while she slept.

The allegations against Franken came amid a wave of sexual harassment or assault allegations against men who wield influence in their industries, including journalist Charlie Rose, Today Show host Matt Lauer, Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, and actor Kevin Spacey.

Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) announced his retirement from Congress earlier this week amid sexual misconduct allegations. Alabama Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore faces allegations that he molested a 14-year-old girl when he was in his early 30’s, as well as allegations that he pursued sexual encounters with other teenagers.

This post has been updated to include additional remarks made by Franken, as well as video of his speech.

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