WASHINGTON – Nearly all of the Democratic women in the Senate are calling for Sen. Al Franken to resign–except Sen. Amy Klobuchar.
Support for Franken has all but vanished following two more accusations of sexual assault. The fallout started Wednesday morning when Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) called for the embattled senator to resign, taking to Facebook to tell Franken “enough is enough.”
“While Senator Franken is entitled to have the Ethics Committee conclude its review, 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 wrote.
Gillibrand’s call for Franken to resign was quickly echoed by Claire McCaskill (D-MO) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH). Within minutes, Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Patty Murray (D-WA), and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) also piled on Franken.
By Wednesday evening, more than 30 senators had come out against Franken. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) released a statement calling for Franken’s resignation.
“I consider Senator Franken a dear friend and greatly respect his accomplishments, but he has a higher obligation to his constituents and the Senate, and he should step down immediately,” Schumer said.
However, while over half the Democratic caucus wants Franken to call it quits, Klobuchar stopped short of calling out her Minnesotan colleague, saying only that she is “confident he will make the right decision.”
“Sexual harassment is unacceptable. This morning I spoke with Senator Franken and, as you know, he will be making an announcement about his future tomorrow morning. I am confident he will make the right decision,” Klobuchar wrote on Twitter.
Klobuchar’s lack of a firm rebuke came as another woman accused Franken of attempting to forcibly kiss her.
A former congressional aide told Politico Franken tried to forcibly kiss her after a taping of his Air America radio show in 2006. The woman, whose name is withheld, said Franken blocked her as she was leaving the studio and tried to kiss her. The former staffer told Politico she had to duck to avoid his lips, and rushed out of the room as Franken said, “It’s my right as an entertainer.”
Franken denied the woman’s story, telling Politico the claims were “preposterous.”
Another woman said Franken touched her inappropriately her during a photo-op. Writing a piece for The Atlantic, Tina Dupuy alleges Franken groped her while taking a photo in 2009 during a Media Matters party during the first Obama inauguration.
“We posed for the shot,” she wrote in The Atlantic. “He immediately put his hand on my waist, grabbing a handful of flesh. I froze. Then he squeezed. At least twice.”
Dupuy is the eighth woman to accuse Franken of sexual misconduct.
By midday Wednesday, Franken’s office released a statement saying the senator would be making an announcement on Thursday. Many people were quick to jump to the conclusion that the senator will announce his resignation, including MPR News. However, Franken’s office was quick to shut down the speculation, calling the reports “inaccurate.”
If Franken were to resign, Gov. Mark Dayton would select a temporary replacement. Franken’s successor would serve until the 2018 election, where there would be a special election to determine who would finish the final two years of Franken’s term. Another election would be held in 2020 for a full six-year term.
Stay tuned to Alpha News for updates on Franken’s future in the Senate.