Sen. Al Franken said on Thursday that he would resign after seven women came forward in recent weeks and said he groped or tried to forcibly kiss them. The second-term Minnesota Democrat, a prolific fundraiser once viewed as a possible White House hopeful, had lost the support of most Democratic senators.
“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 and a man who has repeatedly preyed on young girls campaigns for the Senate with the full support of his party,” Franken said. He was referring to President Donald Trump’s comments captured on tape about grabbing women’s genitals and to Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore.
“But this decision is not about me,” Franken added in a floor speech attended by more than a dozen of his fellow Democratic senators. “It’s about the people of Minnesota. It’s become clear that I can’t pursue the Ethics Committee process and at the same time remain an effective senator for them.”
Only one Republican was present in the chamber for Franken’s speech: Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake, who has donated to Moore’s Democratic opponent and criticized Trump.
Franken said his resignation would take effect “in the coming weeks.”