Thirty-six of Sen. Al Franken's (D., Minn.) previous female "Saturday Night Live" coworkers signed a letter to express their support while downplaying the senator's actions as "stupid and foolish."
"We feel compelled to stand up for Al Franken, whom we have all had the pleasure of working with over the years," the letter began.
The SNL women, most of whom held positions in writing, said they know Franken "as a devoted and dedicated family man, a wonderful comedic performer, and an honorable public servant." They agreed with Franken's response to accusations, saying "it was appropriate for him to apologize to Ms. Tweeden and the public."
Franken offered his "sincerest apology" after Leeann Tweeden told her account of how Franken forcibly kissed her and shared a photo of him groping her while she slept on the flight home from a USO tour in 2006. Monday, Franken was accused of "tightly" grabbing Lindsay Menz’s butt cheek while they took a photo at the Minnesota state fair.
Franken's former SNL coworkers explicitly addressed how they remember his behavior.
"We would like to acknowledge that not one of us ever experienced any inappropriate behavior; and mention our sincere appreciation that he treated each of us with the utmost respect and regard," the women wrote.
Some current lawmakers and former officeholders on the left have also responded to the allegations against Franken. Rep. Diana DeGette (D., Colo.) called Franken's apology "very appropriate" after she told her story of former San Diego Mayor and Democratic Rep. Bob Filner (Calif.) forcing himself on her in an elevator. Filner ultimately resigned as major and was sentenced to home confinement in 2013 following multiple accusations of sexual harassment.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) believes Franken’s future "will rest with the people of Minnesota," and it is his "understanding" that Franken "is a very popular senator."
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) avoided answering a direct question on Monday about whether she thought Franken should step down.
Former President Bill Clinton also ignored questions from reporters Monday as he smiled and walked away rather than answer a question about Franken's sexual harassment allegations.
Franken's former female coworkers expressed, in conclusion, their "support and gratitude to Al and his family this Thanksgiving and holiday season."