Democratic Minnesota Sen. Al Franken has yet to announce when he’s actually going to leave office.
Franken announced last Thursday that he would be resigning “in the coming weeks” after eight different women accused him of groping or forcibly kissing them. “The timing of Franken’s resignation remains unclear, as is his motive in delaying it,” New York Magazine’s Ed Kilgore noted at the time.
Franken has yet to offer any more specificity about when he’s going to follow through in resigning.
Franken’s office did not return multiple requests for comment on the subject.
Franken begrudgingly offered his resignation after 35 Democratic senators called on him to do so, three weeks after he was first accused of groping and forcibly kissing Leeann Tweeden. (RELATED: Al Franken Masters The Non-Apology [VIDEO])
Following Franken’s resignation speech, liberal voices began questioning whether he should actually resign.
Immediately after the speech, Democratic West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin told Politico he disagreed with Franken’s decision.
“You know, I just felt the process should’ve proceeded. I thought that Al should’ve been able to go through the process and, in the process, he would’ve been able to make the statement he had to make today, [that] he was forced to make, without resigning,” Manchin said.
Richard Painter, vice president of left-wing watchdog Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), called on Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton to leverage Franken’s pending resignation into forcing Alabama Republicans to disavow GOP Senate candidate Roy Moore, and re-appoint Franken to his own seat if Moore wins.
Minnesota Governor Dayton should wait until next week to sort this out, making it clear that if Alabama chooses to drastically lower the bar Franken is going right back in. Doug Jones is the only decent candidate in that race.
— Richard W. Painter (@RWPUSA) December 7, 2017
In a column titled “Sacrificing Al Franken in order to capture the moral high ground is not a strategy,” Salon columnist Lucian Truscott argued that Democrats gain nothing by forcing Franken out.
“Attaining the ‘high ground’ is a good strategy only if you’re willing to rain down a wall of steel on the enemy below, and looking at the 35 senators who lined up against Al Franken this week calling for his resignation, I don’t detect a killer instinct in even one of them,” Truscott wrote, arguing Democrats should instead circle the wagons around Franken.
Former Minnesota Gov. Arne Carlson also argued that Franken shouldn’t resign. “A rush to judgment is, unfortunately, all too human. But a rush to punishment is totally unacceptable,” Carlson wrote in a Sunday blog post.
New York Times contributor Zephyr Teachout joined the chorus in a Tuesday column titled, “I’m Not Convinced Franken Should Quit.”
“I also believe in zero tolerance. And yet, a lot of women I know — myself included — were left with a sense that something went wrong last week with the effective ouster of Al Franken from the United States Senate,” Teachout wrote.
The NYT contributor argued that Franken should remain in the Senate and await the results of an ethics investigation instead of resigning now.
“With time, and the existing ethics procedures, things are likely to emerge that will surprise us all. New facts may put Senator Franken in a better light, or a far worse one, and we should be open to both,” she wrote.
Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich compared the calls for Franken’s job to a “lynch mob” in an appearance on Fox News following Franken’s resignation. Gingrich elaborated on Twitter that he thought Minnesota voters should decide Franken’s fate, not his fellow senators.
Franken 1,053,205 Minnesotans picked him for senate in 2014
30 self appointed ‘pure’senators want him out
What happened to popular vote
— Newt Gingrich (@newtgingrich) December 7, 2017
Franken has maintained his innocence, saying that many of the accusations raised against either were categorically false or that he remembered the scenarios playing out differently. The only misconduct allegation Franken admitted to was the one caught on camera: his apparent groping of Tweeden.
Democratic senators are already using Franken’s pending resignation to attack President Donald Trump over the sexual misconduct allegations raised against him during the 2016 campaign. If Franken has to resign, the Democrats argue, so does Trump.
We have a president who acknowledged on tape that he assaulted women. I would hope that he pays attention to what’s going on and think about resigning.
— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) December 7, 2017
“President Trump has committed assault, according to these women, and those are very credible allegations of misconduct and criminal activity, and he should be fully investigated and he should resign,” New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand told CNN.
“I just watched Sen. Al Franken do the honorable thing and resign from his office,” Democratic New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker told Vice News. “My question is, why isn’t Donald Trump doing the same thing — who has more serious allegations against him, with more women who have come forward. The fact pattern on him is far more damning than the fact pattern on Al Franken.”
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