“I think we acted prematurely, before we had all the facts.”
Anyone else saw this coming? Yeah, me too. After a seventh female accused Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) of sexual misconduct, Democrat senators finally called for him to resign. The number skyrocketed after word got out that he would resign.
On December 7, Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) announced he would resign from the Senate after numerous females accused him of sexual misconduct. He didn’t give an exact date, just said in the coming weeks.
Now four senators have urged Franken to reconsider, including some who called for him to step down.
Politico reported that Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), who never called for Franken to step down before the Ethics Committee finished its investigation, “ripped” into those who demanded Franken’s resignation:
“The most hypocritical thing I’ve ever seen done to a human being — and then have enough guts to sit on the floor, watch him give his speech and go over and hug him? That’s hypocrisy at the highest level I’ve ever seen in my life. Made me sick,” Manchin said.
He added, “Here’s a man, that all he said [was], ‘Take me through the Ethics Committee. I will live by whatever decision and I will walk away thinking about this opportunity I’ve had while I was here. But you find out if I’m a predator.’”
Manchin said he hopes Franken reverses his decision, but even more that the senators who led the charge against him reconsider and call for the two-term senator to stay until the ethics process is complete.
“I hope they have enough guts … and enough conscience and enough heart to say, ‘Al, we made a mistake asking prematurely for you to leave.’”
Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) demanded Franken’s resignation, but those close to him told Politico he has told Franken “privately that he regrets doing so.”
“I think we acted prematurely, before we had all the facts,” said a third senator who has also called for the resignation, and has since expressed regret directly to Franken. “In retrospect, I think we acted too fast.” The senator asked not to be named because of the political sensitivity of the issue among Democrats.
Two of the senators who issued resignation calls told POLITICO they felt rushed to weigh in, as they were focused on hearings and other meetings and pressure on Franken mounted. In retrospect they said they signed off on statements without the appropriate care and thought.
Franken attended a bible study held by Sen. James Lankford (R-OK) “at the urging of a colleague who suggested it might help him.” Lankford has not called for Franken’s resignation, but said that the senator “should have gone through the Ethics Committee process.”
Others outside of the Senate have also said that Franken should not resign:
“I and many other people — and specifically feminists — feel that it’s not too late, that he should not resign, and that the rush to sweep him out was ill-conceived, and we think that he has been supportive of women and women’s issues,” said Emily Jane Goodman, a retired New York state Supreme Court judge who’s helped start a Feminists for Franken group on Facebook. “Although we do deplore any kind of gender-based misconduct, we think at the same time he is entitled to a fair hearing.”
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