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Feminist actress defends Al Franken, is 'sad' to see him leave the Senate

Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) looks at his wife Franni Bryson, before walking to the Senate chamber on Dec. 7 to announce his resignation on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. A feminist actress and comedian defended the character of Franken. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Outspoken feminist actress and comedian Sarah Silverman defended the character of outgoing Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) on Monday, casting doubt on his accusers in the process. Franken's resignation from the Senate in the wake of multiple sexual harassment allegations becomes official Tuesday.

What did Silverman say?

Specifically, Silverman criticized a perceived double standard between the treatment of Franken and President Donald Trump, saying, "We’ve taught our children, by looking at politicians, is the ones that take responsibility for their actions lose, and the ones that deny, deny, deny and lie, and don’t admit any wrongdoing, and don’t say sorry, they don’t have to lose their jobs."

Silverman went on to say, "We have a president who has — what, 20 women who’ve accused him of sexual assault. This is what our children are learning."

Silverman also said that she was "sad" to see Franken leave the Senate.

"I happen to know him for decades and decades and I can tell you that all he cares about is the well-being of the lives of his constituents of Minnesota," she said. "It’s all he thinks about, all he cares about. And his wife."

Silverman also seemed to acknowledge that Franken had a habit of kissing women on the lips, but defended this practice by saying he does it "not with an open mouth."

Has Franken admitted responsibility or apologized?

Franken, for his part, initially apologized for having done things that women perceived as "disrespectful," but in a widely criticized resignation speech, he struck a more defiant tone.

"I also think it gave some people the false impression that I was admitting to doing things that, in fact, I haven’t done," he said of his initial apology. "Some of the allegations against me are simply not true. Others, I remember very differently."

Franken also claimed that he was not actually disrespectful to women in that speech.

"I have earned a reputation as someone who respects the women I work alongside every day," he said. "I know there’s been a very different picture of me painted over the last few weeks. But I know who I really am."

In his farewell speech, Franken also deflected attention onto President Donald Trump, noting, "I, of all people, am aware that there is some irony in the fact that I am leaving while a man who has bragged on tape about his history of sexual assault sits in the Oval Office[.]"

Franken also took jabs at Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore, who lost a hotly contested special election in Alabama after allegations of inappropriate behavior with teenage girls surfaced in the final weeks of the campaign.

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton has selected Lt. Gov. Tina Smith to replace Franken.

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