Sen. Amy Klobuchar said Thursday morning that she did not publicly call for Sen. Al Franken to resign over several allegations of sexual misconduct because the two Minnesota Democrats are colleagues.
MSNBC's Mika Brzezinski asked Klobuchar on "Morning Joe" about Franken's decision to resign from the Senate. The comedian turned lawmaker announced on Wednesday that he will officially step down on Jan. 2, after seven women accused him of sexual misconduct, including unwanted kissing and groping. For weeks before then, Franken did not name a specific date for leaving office after originally declaring his intention to do so on Dec. 7.
"I would love to hear more from you on the issue of sexual harassment," Brzezinski said. "There's been a lot of discussion, debate about due process, and I'm wondering if you still think Al Franken's resignation was a good idea, especially given that he was open to an investigation?"
"Well, I have firmly said that there should be an investigation the day that the first information came out, and I will say he himself made this decision to resign; it was not an easy decision," Klobuchar said.
Brzezinski then pushed Klobuchar to say whether she believes Franken's departure is a "good idea."
"I did not publicly call for his resignation because we are colleagues," Klobuchar said. "And we had many, many talks over that time, and the reasons that he gave for his resignation were reasons that he and I discussed, and that was with all of the mounting allegations but also the senators calling on him to resign, he was put in a place he felt he couldn't be effective."
"He made the decision, and he is strongly supporting the new senator that's going to come in in January, Tina Flint Smith," Klobuchar added.
Brzezinski's question came in the wake of reports that some Democratic lawmakers have expressed regret over Franken's departure after a majority of Senate Democrats called on him to leave office on Dec. 6, when a seventh woman publicly accused him of groping her.
Klobuchar said earlier this month that she did not publicly ask Franken to resign because she felt she was "in a different role as his colleague."
Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton (D.) has appointed Lt. Gov. Tina Smith (D.) to fill Franken's seat when he officially leaves office. Initial reports indicated that Smith would not run in a 2018 special election to hold the seat for the remainder of Franken’s term, which ends in 2020, but a source who spoke to Minnesota Public Radio said that she plans to do just that.
Klobuchar added on "Morning Joe" that due process is an essential part of creating safer work environments for women.
"I think it's really important that we have due process for anyone. This isn’t about toppling men; this is about safer worker environments," she said.