Minnesota Senator Al Franken will resign from the United States Senate he said on Thursday, an announcement he made a day after a number of his Democratic colleagues called for him to step down amid mounting allegations that he sexually harassed women.
“Today I am announcing that in the coming weeks, I will be resigning as a member of the United States Senate,” said Franken, adding, “It’s become clear that I can’t both pursue the ethics committee process and at the same time remain an effective senator for [the people of Minnesota].”
Franken also sought to highlight the difference in his response contrasted with Senate candidate Roy Moore, who, ahead of Tuesday’s special election in Alabama, now has support from President Donald Trump, the Republican National Committee, and a growing number of Republican senators. At least eight women have accused Moore of sexual misconduct or inappropriate behavior toward them when he was in his 30s and, in some cases, the women were in their teens.
Moore has denied the allegations.
Roughly a dozen women accused Trump of sexual harassment or assault during the 2016 presidential campaign. Trump denied all of the allegations, called his accusers liars and threatened to sue them.
“I, of all people, am aware that there is some irony in the fact that I am leaving while a man who has bragged on tape about his history of the sexual assault sits in the Oval Office and a man who has repeatedly preyed on young girls campaigns for the Senate with the full support of his party,” Franken said.
The allegations against the senator began less than three weeks ago with the account of a Los Angeles radio host who described Franken’s actions while the pair were on a USO trip together in 2006. Though he apologized, acknowledged some wrongdoing and called for an ethics investigation to be initiated, Franken resisted early calls for his resignation, even after additional accusations of misconduct surfaced.
The tipping point seemed to come earlier in the day Wednesday, when, in what was a coordinated effort, Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., Patty Murray, D-Wash., Kamala Harris, D-Calif., Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., each called for Franken to resign.