WASHINGTON — Democrats appear ready to send off their colleague, Minnesota Sen. Al Franken, following a Minnesota Public Radio report saying that the former comedian is ready to resign.
However, Franken disputed the MPR piece on Twitter and claimed that no decision has yet been made about his future in the Senate. The Minnesota Democrat is expected to make a final announcement Thursday.
In the meantime, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer has already called for Franken to leave his seat.
“I consider Senator Franken a dear friend and greatly respect his accomplishments, but he has a higher obligation to his constituents and the Senate, and he should step down immediately,” Schumer said in a statement.
Other Democrats who became aware of the MPR report earlier in the evening said that Franken and Michigan Democratic Rep. John Conyers’ resignation shows their party will not tolerate sexual harassers in their ranks.
“I’m certainly concerned that we provide an atmosphere in the Congress of the United States where people feel safe respected and there are avenues to address these kinds of matters,” House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer told TheDC.
Michigan Democratic Rep. Sander Levin saw the MPR report and told TheDC, “I think it’s just regretful. I think he had to reach a decision and he made the right one.”
The cascade of calls for Franken to resign came after 12 Democratic female members of Congress asked the Minnesota lawmaker to step down. As of now, 32 Senate Democrats have called on Franken to resign, CNN reported.
California Democratic Rep. Mark Takano reacted to the MPR piece and said the possible resignation show Democrats will not tolerate sexual harassers at all.
“The Democratic Party stands for zero tolerance. Of sexual harassment. And, you know, I think he’s doing the right thing,” he said.
Connecticut Democratic Rep. Elizabeth Esty, however, believes there is much more to do to reduce harassment on Capitol Hill.
“I think the culture needs to change in this place. I was an intern here a long time ago. There’s a lot more progress,” she told TheDC. “We need more women in Congress would help. More women in Congress would help in changing that.”