Sen. Al Franken Apologizes for Groping Allegations, Says He Has No Plans to Resign

He could not definitively say whether more women would come forward with similar accounts.

Greg Mathieson/ZUMA

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.

Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) on Monday addressed the allegations of sexual misconduct directed at him, saying that he was “tremendously sorry” and hoped to regain the trust of those he has let down, including his supporters and staff. The Minnesota senator also said that he did not intend to resign over the controversy, which include allegations of inappropriate touching and forcible kissing. 

“I want to again say I’m sorry,” Franken told reporters on Capitol Hill, his first press conference since the accusations started nearly two weeks. “I know there are no magic words that I can say to regain your trust, and I know that’s going to take time. I’m ready to start that process and that starts with going back to work today.”

When asked why he could not definitively say whether more women would publicly accuse him of inappropriately touching them, Franken said that he could not speculate. “If you had asked me two weeks ago would any women come forward with an allegation like that, I would have said no,” he said, adding, “This has been a shock and it’s been extremely humbling.” 

The accusations began on Nov. 16, when Los Angeles radio host Leeann Tweeden—who was with Franken in 2006 entertaining troops stationed overseas for a USO show—released a photograph that appeared to show Franken grabbing her breasts while she was asleep and wearing protective military gear. Tweeden also alleged that the then-comedian forcibly kissed her while the two were rehearsing a skit. Since Tweeden’s account, three additional women made similar accusations of sexual misconduct against Franken.

A Senate ethics investigation to review the allegations was swiftly opened—a step Franken said he welcomed. During Monday’s press conference, he indicated that he was “open” to allowing the findings of the investigation be made public upon its conclusion.

On Sunday, Franken expressed embarrassment over the allegations. “I’ve let a lot of people down and I’m hoping I can make it up to them and gradually regain their trust,” Franken told the Minnesota Star Tribune.

LET’S TALK ABOUT OPTIMISM FOR A CHANGE

Democracy and journalism are in crisis mode—and have been for a while. So how about doing something different?

Mother Jones did. We just merged with the Center for Investigative Reporting, bringing the radio show Reveal, the documentary film team CIR Studios, and Mother Jones together as one bigger, bolder investigative journalism nonprofit.

And this is the first time we’re asking you to support the new organization we’re building. In “Less Dreading, More Doing,” we lay it all out for you: why we merged, how we’re stronger together, why we’re optimistic about the work ahead, and why we need to raise the First $500,000 in online donations by June 22.

It won’t be easy. There are many exciting new things to share with you, but spoiler: Wiggle room in our budget is not among them. We can’t afford missing these goals. We need this to be a big one. Falling flat would be utterly devastating right now.

A First $500,000 donation of $500, $50, or $5 would mean the world to us—a signal that you believe in the power of independent investigative reporting like we do. And whether you can pitch in or not, we have a free Strengthen Journalism sticker for you so you can help us spread the word and make the most of this huge moment.

payment methods

LET’S TALK ABOUT OPTIMISM FOR A CHANGE

Democracy and journalism are in crisis mode—and have been for a while. So how about doing something different?

Mother Jones did. We just merged with the Center for Investigative Reporting, bringing the radio show Reveal, the documentary film team CIR Studios, and Mother Jones together as one bigger, bolder investigative journalism nonprofit.

And this is the first time we’re asking you to support the new organization we’re building. In “Less Dreading, More Doing,” we lay it all out for you: why we merged, how we’re stronger together, why we’re optimistic about the work ahead, and why we need to raise the First $500,000 in online donations by June 22.

It won’t be easy. There are many exciting new things to share with you, but spoiler: Wiggle room in our budget is not among them. We can’t afford missing these goals. We need this to be a big one. Falling flat would be utterly devastating right now.

A First $500,000 donation of $500, $50, or $5 would mean the world to us—a signal that you believe in the power of independent investigative reporting like we do. And whether you can pitch in or not, we have a free Strengthen Journalism sticker for you so you can help us spread the word and make the most of this huge moment.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate