A Growing Number of Democratic Senators Call on Al Franken to Resign

Franken will be making an announcement tomorrow.

Ron Sachs/Zuma

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The chorus of Democrats calling on Minnesota Sen. Al Franken to step aside just got a whole lot louder. On Wednesday, as a seventh woman came forward to accuse Franken of inappropriate sexual conduct, a group of female Democratic senators led by New York’s Kirsten Gillibrand called on Franken to resign.

“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,” Gillibrand said in a statement posted on Facebook.

Gillibrand was joined within minutes by Sens. Mazie Hironi (D-Hawaii), Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), and Kamala Harris (D-Calif.). They were the first Senate Democrats to call on their colleague to resign. After Franken was first accused last month of forcibly kissing a colleague during a 2006 USO tour, he seemed determined to ride out the scandal and wait for the conclusion of a Senate ethics investigation into his conduct. But now he faces quickly growing opposition within the Senate. After these female senators demanded he leave the Senate, several Democratic male colleagues joined the call for Franken to quit. The group included Sens. Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.), and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio). And Tom Perez, the chairman of the Democratic National Committee, tweeted Franken should step down.

On Tuesday, longtime Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) announced his retirement after facing a series of sexual harassment allegations. Conyers was pressed to resign by his party’s leader, Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). And after Democratic Rep. Ruben Kihuen of Nevada was accused of sexually harassing a staffer during his 2016 campaign, Rep. Ben Ray Lujan, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Committee, joined Pelosi in asking him to resign. (Kihuen has not.) 

Franken’s office has issued a brief statement saying that he will be making an announcement tomorrow. 

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You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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