A wave of Democratic senators called for their colleague Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., to resign on Wednesday.
Sens. Mazie Hirono of Hawaii, Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire, Kamala Harris of California, Patty Murray of Washington, and Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin were the first to say Franken should step aside in what appeared to be a coordinated release late Wednesday morning. Franken has been accused of sexual harassment and misconduct by a series of women during the past month.
After the initial statements, the first seven female senators were joined by Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters of Michigan, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Michael Bennet of Colorado, Ed Markey of Massachusetts, Maria Cantwell of Washington, Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth of Illinois, Patrick Leahy of Vermont, Martin Heinrich and Tom Udall of New Mexico, Jeff Merkley of Oregon, Tom Carper of Delaware, Jon Tester of Montana, Cory Booker of New Jersey, and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York.
Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Angus King of Maine, independents who caucus with the Democrats, also called on Franken to resign.
Earlier Wednesday morning the latest accuser had stepped forward, saying that Franken had tried to forcibly kiss her, an allegation Franken denied. Wednesday morning also was the release of Time magazine’s Person of the Year, which went to “The Silence Breakers,” women and men who had stepped forward about being sexually assaulted and harassed.
In the wake of the calls for his resignation, Franken tweeted that he would make an announcement on Thursday.
Today, I am calling on my colleague Al Franken to step aside. I’ve struggled with this decision because he’s been a good Senator and I consider him a friend. But that cannot excuse his behavior and his mistreatment of women. (thread)
— Senator Mazie Hirono (@maziehirono) December 6, 2017
Al Franken should resign.
— Claire McCaskill (@clairecmc) December 6, 2017
As elected officials, we should be held to the highest standards—not the lowest. The allegations against Sen. Franken describe behavior that cannot be tolerated. While he’s entitled to an Ethics Committee hearing, I believe he should step aside to let someone else serve.
— Kirsten Gillibrand (@SenGillibrand) December 6, 2017