With more stories of sexual misconduct surfacing against Sen. Al Franken (D-MN), a group of female Democratic Party Senators on Wednesday publicly called for Franken’s resignation, as they were swiftly joined by other Democrats on Capitol Hill, and the head of the national party, making it clear there was no place in elected office for the embattled Minnesota Democrat. Franken was said to be scheduling an announcement on Thursday.
“It is clear that Al Franken has engaged in a pattern of egregious and unacceptable behavior toward women, and he should resign,” said Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-NH).
“Sexual harassment and misconduct should not be allowed by anyone and should not occur anywhere,” said Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), one of a group of women who issued statements at about the same time on Wednesday morning about Franken.
“I believe the best thing for Senator Franken to do is step down,” Harris added.
“I’m shocked and appalled by Sen. Franken’s behavior,” said Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) in a written statement.
“It’s clear to me that this has been a deeply harmful, persistent problem and a clear pattern over a long period of time,” Murray added.
At noon, the list of Senators calling for Franken’s resignation included Murray, Harris, Hassan, Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Sen. Clare McCaskill (D-MO), and Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI).
And the list grew quickly.
And it wasn’t only women in the Senate, as Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) said he also believed that Franken should go.
“We can’t just believe women when it’s convenient,” Casey wrote on Twitter.
“I agree the time has come for Senator Franken to step aside,” said Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH).
The calls extended off of Capitol Hill, as the head of the Democratic National Committee made clear he wanted Franken to resign as well.
“Sen. Al Franken should step down,” DNC Chairman Tom Perez wrote on Twitter. “Everyone must share the responsibility of building a culture of trust and respect for women in every industry and workplace, and that includes our party.”
The developments left Franken in an increasingly difficult position; the Minnesota Senator has shrugged off calls for his resignation, offering up apologies to women who came forward with their stories.
The Senate Ethics Committee has already announced a review of the allegations against Franken, who was first elected to the Senate in 2008.
If Franken were forced to resign, it wouldn’t change anything immediately in the Senate, because there is a Democratic Governor in Minnesota, who would appoint a replacement, before a special election in that state.
The calls for Franken’s resignation came a day after pressure from past sexual misconduct allegations forced Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) to resign from the House; Rep. Ruben Kihuen (D-NV) so far has said he won’t resign, despite questions about his own behavior in the 2016 campaign.
Some Democrats have also said that Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-TX) should be forced out; he admitted this week that he had reached an $84,000 sexual harassment settlement with a former staffer in his office.
Farenthold told a TV station in Texas that he would repay that money, which was originally paid out of taxpayer dollars.
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