Minnesota Sen. Al Franken called President Trump “racist” over the weekend for referring to Sen. Elizabeth Warren — who claims to be part Native American — as “Pocahontas.” Left unmentioned, however, is Sen. Franken’s own history of using ugly and offensive language regarding women and minorities.
While speaking at the White House Correspondents Dinner in 1996, Franken “ridiculed [Gingrich] with a joke about his daughter’s first menstrual period,” The New York Post’s Deborah Orin reported at the time.
The joke was so out-of-bounds that then-Vice President Al Gore personally walked over to Gingrich’s table with an apology, The Weekly Standard noted after the dinner, adding: “Soon after, Gingrich encountered Franken and told him that, were Gingrich not a public figure, he’d have punched the comic out.”
As a writer and comic for Saturday Night Live, Franken helped craft a racist skit advertising a fake toothpaste called “Tarbrush,” meant to darken black people’s white teeth, according to the book “Saturday Night: A Backstage History of Saturday Night Live” by Doug Hill and Jeff Weingrad.
“One sketch written for Garrett was a parody commercial for a toothpaste called ‘Tarbrush,’ which darkened blacks’ supposedly shiny white teeth,” Hill and Weingrad write, adding that two black technicians on the show reportedly walked out due to how offensive the skit was. “We relied on [Morris] to bring some blackness to the show,” Franken told the authors.
The “Tarbrush” anecdote was repeated in Adweek in 2006, which noted that “Some of [Franken’s crew] at SNL quit over a sketch he’d written for Garrett Morris called Tar Brush.” (The skit never aired.)
Franken is also on record making anti-gay comments.
“I just don’t like homosexuals,” he told Harvard University’s student newspaper while working for SNL. “If you ask me, they’re all homosexuals in the Pudding [a Harvard social club]. Hey, I was glad when that Pudding homosexual got killed in Philadelphia.”
Despite his own offensive past, Franken had no problem calling out President Trump for his use of the term “Pocahontas” to refer to Warren.
If he had been in the room when Trump referred to Warren as Pocahontas, Franken said he would have responded: “Mr. President, with all due respect, that’s racist.”