A CNN anchor said on Friday that disgraced former Democratic senator and accused serial groper Al Franken's "voice is needed" in the 2020 primary.
Anchor Chris Cuomo and Franken spoke for nearly 15 minutes about the Democratic primary on Friday night. The segment featured effusive praise from Cuomo, who only briefly touched on the numerous allegations of sexual misconduct that led to Franken's resignation in 2018.
Recent Stories in Politics
"Your voice is needed. It is unusual in your party right now to hear the way you're talking based on the state of play," Cuomo said. "You're welcome here anytime to help us make sense of the election going forward."
Franken described how he had been "screaming" at the television during the debates because the candidates haven't been attacking President Donald Trump. Near the end of the interview, the host attempted to minimize the accusations of groping and unwanted kissing by pointing out that many Senate Democrats regretted calling for Franken to resign.
"It's just regrettable when somebody who has that kind of passion for public service winds up having to exit it not on their own terms," Cuomo said. "The New Yorker comes out with an article. Eight of the senators who were against you are in this article saying they regret it, and they say that to different degrees. In fact, some go much further than that."
Franken appeared on the network one day after former president Bill Clinton came under fire for blaming his own sexual misconduct on the "stress" and "anxieties" he felt in the White House. Clinton's explanation of his relationship with intern Monica Lewinsky has been slammed by liberals, such as Bill Maher, as "callous."
Franken formally resigned in early January 2018 after eight women came forward and accused him of groping and forcibly kissing them. He initially refused to step down, but changed course after Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D., N.Y) and dozens of fellow Democratic senators called for him to resign.
This is not the first time Cuomo or CNN has attempted to rehab the image of a disgraced former Democratic lawmaker. Cuomo interviewed California Democrat Katie Hill shortly after she resigned from Congress in the face of sexual misconduct allegations. Cuomo framed the interview as Hill "fighting back."