Nov 16, 2017 - Politics & Policy

Franken under fire from Senate Dems

Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., on Capitol Hill. Photo: Carolyn Kaster / AP

Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) has come under fire from his colleagues after journalist Leeann Tweeden said he groped and kissed her without her consent in 2006.

The consensus: Almost all of the Senate Dems who spoke out against Franken's actions called his behavior was unacceptable and said they supported Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's call for an Ethics investigation. Franken said he would "gladly cooperate."

The reaction:

  • Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA): "The behavior reported today is unacceptable and deeply disappointing. I am glad Senator Franken has acknowledged as much … Women who come forward are brave and deserve to be respected. We're not going to fix the problems of sexual harassment and assault until men take responsibility for their actions and change their behavior."
  • Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY): "The allegations against Sen. Franken are deeply concerning. This kind of behavior is unacceptable and should not be tolerated anywhere in our society. There is nothing funny about it and there is no excuse for it. The Ethics Committee deserves answers from him."
  • Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA): "This is unacceptable behavior and extremely disappointing. I am glad Al came out and apologized, but that doesn't reverse what he's done or end the matter."
  • Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA): "I'm not going to judge the sufficiency of [Franken's] apology, but the behavior is unacceptable." He also said his McConnell's call for an ethics investigation "has merit."
  • Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO): "I'm shocked and concerned. The behavior described is completely unacceptable. Comedy is no excuse for inappropriate conduct, and I believe there should be an ethics investigation."
  • Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL): "I tend to believe her," she says of his accuser, adding that she backs an ethics investigation.
  • Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-IN): "I agree with Sen. McConnell that the Ethics Committee should review this matter. What Senator Franken did is wrong and regardless of political party, sexual harassment and sexual abuse are unacceptable."
  • Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN): "I strongly condemn this behavior and the Senate Ethics Committee must open an investigation."
  • Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL): "Sexual harassment is never acceptable. The Senate Ethics Committee will fully investigate this troubling incident, as I believe they should."

Reaction from House and Senate Leadership:

  • Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY): "As with all credible allegations of sexual harassment or assault, I believe the Ethics Committee should review the matter. I hope the Democratic Leader will join me on this. Regardless of party, harassment and assault are completely unacceptable—in the workplace or anywhere else."
  • Sen. Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY): "Sexual harassment is never acceptable and must not be tolerated. I hope and expect that the Ethics Committee will fully investigate this troubling incident, as they should with any credible allegation of sexual harassment."
  • House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA): "This allegation should be fully investigated by the Senate Ethics Committee, as should any credible allegation. We are at a watershed moment and now is the time for Congress to overhaul how it deals with the issue of sexual harassment."
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