Two prominent members of the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor party called on Minnesota Sen. Al Franken to step down hours after the Democratic lawmaker was accused of forcibly kissing and groping a female radio host.
State auditor Rebecca Otto and Megan Thomas, president of the party’s official Feminist Caucus, said Franken should resign his seat despite the pragmatic political considerations that have led many Democrats to stop short of calling for his resignation.
“The ‘political’ answer is to wait and not overreact,” Thomas wrote in a Thursday evening Facebook post. “But I also know that the next time I see him in person I will, however fleeting or unneeded, be afraid because of what he is doing in that picture. No one should fear their elected representatives, so, sadly, for me, I think the Senator should resign.”
Otto, who is making a gubernatorial run, called Franken “a friend,” but he should step down because “we can’t have a double standard,” she said in a statement issued Thursday.
Radio host Leeann Tweeden claims Franken aggressively kissed and groped her under the guise of rehearsing a skit during a 2006 United Service Organization (USO) tour in the Middle East in 2006. The allegations were accompanied by a photo that shows Franken groping Tweeden’s chest while she sleeps.
A second woman, Equalizer co-founder Melanie Morgan, accused Franken of repeatedly making unwanted phone calls to her following a TV appearance together in 2000.
Franken did not recall the incident Tweeden described, but apologized in a statement issued Thursday and said she deserved to be believed.
“The first thing I want to do is apologize: to Leeann, to everyone else who was part of that tour, to everyone who has worked for me, to everyone I represent, and to everyone who counts on me to be an ally and supporter and champion of women,” Franken said. “There’s more I want to say, but the first and most important thing—and if it’s the only thing you care to hear, that’s fine—is: I’m sorry.”
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