One after another, a wave of Democratic senators—all women—called for accused sexual harasser Al Franken to resign his seat Wednesday morning. The demands came just hours after a seventh woman accused Franken of unwanted sexual advances.
In a lengthy Facebook post, Senator Kristen Gillibrand said she was “shocked and disappointed” at Franken’s alleged actions, and that, “as the mother of two young boys, we owe it to our sons and daughters to not equivocate, but to offer clarity.” She continued:
While Senator Franken is entitled to have the Ethics Committee conclude its review, 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.
Moments after Gillibrand’s statement, Hawaiian Senator Mazie Hirono released her own statement:
Within minutes of Hirono’s statement, Senators Patti Murray, Maggie Hassan, Kamala Harris, and Claire McCaskill each added their voice to the growing—and seemingly coordinated—chorus of those calling for Franken’s resignation.
Franken has been accused by multiple women of groping, and in several cases, kissing them without permission. His most recent accuser, a congressional aide, claims that Franken tried to forcibly kiss her in 2006, after a taping of his radio show. According to the woman, Franken said, “It’s my right as an entertainer.”
Wednesday’s wave of resignation calls came just as a bipartisan group of senators—including Gillibrand—brought forward legislation aimed at addressing sexual harassment and assault.
Update, 12:15 PM: Senators Joe Donnelly, Sherrod Brown, and Bob Casey have joined their female colleagues in calling for Franken to step down.
Update, 2:19 PM: Democratic National Committee chair Tom Perez has also called for Franken to resign.
One senator not calling for Franken to step down? Patrick Leahy of Vermont.
Update, 1 PM: Franken is set to make a statement tomorrow, where he will presumably resign.
His fellow Minnesota senator Amy Klobuchar was vague about her views on the matter.
This is a developing news post and is being updated.