THURSDAY UPDATE: Senator Al Franken announces he will resign “in the coming weeks.”
Embattled Sen. Al Franken will make an announcement Thursday, his office told reporters, as calls for the Minnesota Democrat’s resignation rapidly gained momentum Wednesday in dramatic fashion.
Twenty-eight Democratic senators — 13 female and 15 male including the second-ranking Democrat in chamber — called on Franken to resign as allegations of sexual harassment against him continue to mount. Republican Sen. Susan Collins also called on Franken to quit.
In a statement on Facebook, New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand wrote: “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.”
The list of Democratic Senators calling on Sen. Al Franken to resign amid dogpiling allegations of sexual harassment includes Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado:
Sexual harassment and misconduct are never acceptable. I understand Senator Franken will make an announcement tomorrow morning, and I’m confident he’ll do the right thing and step aside.
— Michael F. Bennet (@SenBennetCO) December 6, 2017
And it is increasingly expected that Sen. Franken will announce his resignation tomorrow. Politically this is consequential for Democrats, likely forcing them to unexpectedly defend two Senate seats in Minnesota in 2018. But as the allegations continued to mount against Franken from a numerous disconnected sources, and particularly after the resignation of senior Rep. John Conyers this week, Franken’s position quickly–not quickly enough, say his accusers–became untenable.
So here’s another prominent Democrat who has been held accountable for his sexual misdeeds.
When Roy Moore is sworn in to the U.S. Senate, and the next Access Hollywood-style allegation against the President of the United States gets denied, the difference in the response by the parties is going to stand out in very harsh relief. From Washington D.C. to the Colorado General Assembly, a double standard is emerging between the parties in response to sexual harassment allegations that voters in 2018 may show very little tolerance for.
In which case Democrats losing their jobs now may have lots of company later from the other side.