Al Franken’s Newest Excuse For Groping Allegations: ‘I Hug People’

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Democratic Minnesota Sen. Al Franken’s latest excuse for the groping allegations against him is that he is a “warm person” who likes to “hug people.”

Four women have now come forward to accuse Franken of groping their butts or breasts. One of the women, Leeann Tweeden, also accused Franken of forcibly kissing her while rehearsing a skit on a USO trip in 2006.

Franken released a Thanksgiving Day statement in which he attempted to downplay the allegations against him, while adding that he respects the “feelings” of his accusers. (RELATED: Al Franken’s Evolving Responses To Sexual Harassment Allegations)

“I’ve met tens of thousands of people and taken thousands of photographs, often in crowded and chaotic situations. I’m a warm person; I hug people. I’ve learned from recent stories that in some of those encounters, I crossed a line for some women — and I know that any number is too many,” Franken said.

“Some women have found my greetings or embraces for a hug or photo inappropriate, and I respect their feelings about that. I’ve thought a lot in recent days about how that could happen, and recognize that I need to be much more careful and sensitive in these situations.”

Despite pressure from left-wing activists to resign, Franken indicated in his statement on Thursday that he plans to stay and regain the trust of his supporters. (RELATED: John Conyers’ Attorney Hints At ‘Allegations’ Against ‘Many Members’ Of The House And Senate)

“I feel terribly that I’ve made some women feel badly and for that I am so sorry, and I want to make sure that never happens again,” he said. “And let me say again to Minnesotans that I’m sorry for putting them through this and I’m committed to regaining their trust.”

A recent poll found that 50 percent of voters think Franken should resign. Just 22 percent of voters said he should remain in the Senate.