A top Senate Democrat says that Al Franken will resign Thursday over allegations of sexual misconduct after another woman came forward with accusations of sexual misconduct.
In a tweet on Wednesday, Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon said: “I expect that Senator Franken will announce his resignation tomorrow.” Wyden tweeted that “It is the right thing to do given this series of serious allegations.”
Franken’s office said he would make an announcement Thursday, but did not specify the subject.
I expect that Senator Franken will announce his resignation tomorrow. It is the right thing to do given this series of serious allegations.
— Ron Wyden (@RonWyden) December 6, 2017
Oregon’s two Democratic senators have joined their female counterparts in other states calling for Sen. Al Franken’s resignation over sexual harassment allegations.
Senator Wyden and Senator Jeff Merkley both tweeted Wednesday that they hope Franken will step down.
Wyden wrote it was the “right thing to do given this series of serious allegations” while Merkley said a resignation would be in the “best interest of our country.”
Senator Franken has said he will make an announcement tomorrow, and I hope that he will do the right thing. It is in the best interest of our country for him to step aside.
— Senator Jeff Merkley (@SenJeffMerkley) December 6, 2017
More than a dozen Senate Democrats, led by female lawmakers, have called on Franken to step aside. The nearly simultaneous clamor for the two-term senator to quit comes a day after Michigan Rep. John Conyers, another Democrat, announced his resignation.
Franken’s support among his fellow Democrats is collapsing as a host of female Democratic senators called upon him to quit.
Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., Patty Murray, D-Wash., Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, Kamala Harris, D-Calif., and Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., all called on Franken to step down.
Franken’s fellow Democrat in the Senate, Amy Klobuchar, stopping short of adding her voice to the resignation chorus, said in a tweet: “This morning I spoke with Senator Franken and … I am confident he will make the right decision.”
The initial wave calling for Franken’s resignation was comprised of all women from the chamber’s 16 Democratic female senators in a series of social media posts that appeared nearly simultaneously on Wednesday morning.
They were soon joined by numerous male colleagues from the Senate’s Democratic caucus, as well as Republicans, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and Susan Collins of Maine. Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez also urged Franken to step down.
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, one of the earliest out of the gate Wednesday, wrote on Facebook. “I believe it would be better for our country if he sent a clear message that any kind of mistreatment of women in our society isn’t acceptable by stepping aside to let someone else serve.”
On Twitter, Sen. Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire said Franken “has engaged in a pattern of egregious and unacceptable behavior toward women. He should resign.” Sen. Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota explained in a tweet that “for decades as a country, we have been far too tolerant and dismissive of past allegations.”
It is clear that Al Franken has engaged in a pattern of egregious and unacceptable behavior toward women. He should resign.
— Sen. Maggie Hassan (@SenatorHassan) December 6, 2017
The calls for Franken to resign are a shift from last week when Democratic senators dodged questions by noting that they wanted to wait for an Ethics Committee investigation into his actions.
Franken has been battling allegations of sexual misconduct since mid-November.
The first was Los Angeles radio host Leann Tweeden, who said Franken forced a kiss on her during a USO tour several years ago before he joined the Senate. A photo from that tour shows Franken with his hands hovering over her clothed breasts as he mugs for the camera.
Numerous women have since leveled accusations against Franken, some anonymously.
Among his other accusers, Stephanie Kemplin told CNN that Franken had cupped her breast when she stood next to him for a photo in December 2003 during her military deployment in Kuwait.
Three other women alleged Franken grabbed their buttocks while posing with them for photos during events in 2007, 2008 and 2010. In the encounter in 2010, after Franken was in the Senate, Lindsay Menz told CNN that Franken grabbed her buttocks at the Minnesota State Fair.
The latest accusation against Franken came from a former Democratic congressional aide who told a national politics news website that he tried to force a kiss on her after a recording of his radio show in 2006, three years before he took office.
If Franken does resign, it would fall to DFL Gov. Mark Dayton to appoint a temporary replacement. The seat would then be on the ballot in next November’s election — joining an open governor’s race and Klobuchar’s re-election bid, which would make for the highest-stakes Minnesota election in a generation.
Sign up to get alerts from Joe!