Dem Senator Dodges on Whether Conyers, Franken Should Resign Over Sexual Misconduct Allegations

Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D., Wis.) said Wednesday that procedures for sexual misconduct claims in Congress should change but did not call for the resignations of two of her Democratic colleagues currently embroiled in such scandals.

After MSNBC host Craig Melvin outlined the allegations against Rep. John Conyers (D., Mich.) and Sen. Al Franken (D., Minn.), Baldwin did not say that they should step down. On Conyers, Baldwin granted that it is a serious matter but followed House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) and other Democrats in saying that the House Ethics Committee's investigation should continue.

"When I hear such serious allegations, I am very troubled by them," Baldwin said of the accusations against Conyers. "I think that there is a process that is taking place, but it should be more transparent."

"It gets back to the point I was just making about how we make our workplaces, especially on Capitol Hill but everywhere, safe for women," she added.

Melvin then asked whether Franken should resign considering his admission of at least partial guilt, to which Baldwin responded that the standard process for such matters should continue.

"You know, there is a Senate Ethics Committee investigation underway," she said. "I want to have that process play out, and I think that will inform our conclusion."

Melvin pressed Baldwin on Franken, saying that he already admitted to some of the allegations prior to any investigation taking place. Baldwin turned the issue around, saying that admitting guilt differentiates Franken from politicians and journalists who have denied allegations levied against them.

"You know, Senator Franken did [apologize]. He respected the—encouraged women to speak out," Baldwin said. "He apologized, and I think in some ways that totally differentiates from other behavior that we are seeing among my colleagues and among people in your profession, people in positions of great power."

She finished by saying that, despite Conyers and Franken staying in public office, workplaces should be safe for women.

"And so I do want to see this play out, but I do think, moving forward, we have to hear the words and experiences of women and we have to change our workforce rules and procedures to make every workplace a safe environment for women," Baldwin said.