(CNSNews.com) - Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) announced Thursday that he is resigning from his Senate seat amidst allegations that he groped multiple women, while calling out the president and GOP Senate candidate Roy Moore of Alabama.
“Today I am announcing that in the coming weeks, I will be resigning as member of the United States Senate. 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 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,” he said.
Weeks ago, Franken admitted to groping a woman while she was sleeping and taking a picture of it while flying back from a USO tour in Afghanistan in 2006 - two years before he was elected to the Senate. Franken apologized to the woman - California radio host Leeann Tweeden - and at first refused to resign. Since then, Franken faced growing pressure to resign, including from a group of female Democrat senators.
“Over the last few weeks, a number of women have come forward to talk about how they felt my actions had affected them. I was shocked. I was upset, but in responding to their claims, I also wanted to be respectful of that broader conversation, because all women deserve to be heard, and their experiences taken seriously. I think that was the right thing to do,” he said.
“I also think it gave some people the false impression that I was admitting to doing things that in fact I haven’t done,” the senator added.
“Some of the allegations against me are simply not true. Others I remember very differently. I said at the outset that the Ethics Committee was the right venue for these allegations to be heard and investigated and evaluated on their merits, that I was prepared to cooperate fully and that I was confident in the outcome,” Franken said Thursday.
Franken said he could not pursue the Ethics Committee process and be an effective senator at the same time and that while he was resigning, he would not give up his voice. He said he would continue to stand up for the things he believes in as a citizen and an activist.
Franken said he was proud to have used his power in the Senate to be a champion of women and to have “earned a reputation as someone who respects the women I work alongside every day.”
“I know there’s been a very different picture of me painted over the last few weeks, but I know who I really am,” he said.
“I know in my heart that nothing I have done as a senator - nothing - has brought dishonor on this institution, and I am confident that the Ethics Committee would agree,” Franken added.