Democratic Women Senators Call on Franken to Resign After Seventh Accuser Comes Forward

Al Franken / Getty
December 6, 2017

Several female Democratic senators, within a span of minutes, all called on their Democratic colleague Al Franken (Minn.) to resign following a seventh accusation that he made improper sexual advances towards women.

Politico reported Wednesday that a former Democratic congressional aide claimed she was forcibly kissed by Franken while he was still a radio host. Later that morning, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D., N.Y.) was the first to call for the Minnesota senator's resignation in a Facebook post.

"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," she argued.

Sen. Mazie Hirono (D., Hawaii) was next, tweeting, "Today, I am calling on my colleague Al Franken to step aside." Hirono added that she "struggled" with the decision because of her friendship with Franken, "but that cannot excuse his behavior and his mistreatment of women."

Sen. Clare McCaskill's (D., Mo.) tweet on the issue was short and to the point.

"It is clear that Al Franken has engaged in a pattern of egregious and unacceptable behavior toward women. He should resign," tweeted Sen. Maggie Hassan (D., N.H.).

"Sexual harassment and misconduct should not be allowed by anyone and should not occur anywhere," tweeted California's Kamala Harris. "I believe the best thing for Senator Franken to do is step down."

"I’m shocked and appalled by Senator Franken’s behavior," wrote Sen. Patty Murray (D., Wash.). "It’s clear to me that this has been a deeply harmful, persistent problem and a clear pattern over a long period of time. It’s time for him to step aside."

"I believe it is best for Senator Franken to resign," Sen. Tammy Baldwin  (D., Wis.) added.

"Sexual harassment is unacceptable." Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D., Mich.) tweeted. "I believe Senator Franken should do the right thing and resign."

Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D., N.D.) said she was "very concerned and disappointed by the behavior detailed in the allegations." She added that we "must commit to zero tolerance ... and that means Senator Franken should step down."

As the female senators continued to release statements, their male counterparts began to voice agreement Wednesday afternoon.

"I agree with my colleagues who have stepped forward today and called on Senator Franken to resign," tweeted Sen Bob Casey (D., Pa.). "We can’t just believe women when it’s convenient."

Sen. Joe Donnelly (D., Ind.) tweeted Franken's "conduct and behavior are unacceptable and he should resign."

Sen. Sherrod Brown (D., Ohio) was reported to say, "I believe the time has come for Sen. Franken to step aside."

"I join my colleagues in calling for Senator Franken to step aside and resign," Sen. Ed Markey (D., Mass.) tweeted. "Sexual harassment is unacceptable, completely inappropriate and cannot be tolerated."

Oregon Senator Ron Wyden said he expects Franken will announce his resignation, saying "It is the right thing to do given this series of serious allegations."

Democratic National Committee chairman Tom Perez added his call for the Minnesota Democrat's resignation. "Sen. Al Franken should step down," he tweeted. "Everyone must share the responsibility of building a culture of trust and respect for women in every industry and workplace, and that includes our party."

Franken's office responded with a short tweet about one hour after Gillibrand's initial statement. "Senator Franken will be making an announcement tomorrow," read the statement tweeted from the senator's official Twitter account.

Following Franken's statement, Democratic senators continued to call for his resignation, including Sens. Maria Cantwell (D., Ind.), Diane Feinstein (D., Calif.), Michael Bennet (D., Co.), Tom Carper (D., Del.), Dick Durbin (D., Ill.), Martin Heinrich (D., N.M.), Patrick Leahy (D., Vt.), Jeff Merkley (D., Ore.), and Rob Wyden (D., Ore.),

This story is developing and will be updated as more information becomes available.