Minnesota Sen. Al Franken will resign from the United States Senate “in the coming weeks” he said Thursday, an announcement he made a day after a number of his Democratic colleagues called for him to step down amid mounting allegations that he sexually harassed women.
“Today I am announcing that in the coming weeks, I will be resigning as a member of the United States Senate,” said Franken on the Senate floor, adding, “It’s become clear that I can’t both pursue the ethics committee process and at the same time remain an effective senator for [the people of Minnesota].”
The allegations against the senator began less than three weeks ago with the account of a Los Angeles radio host who described Franken’s actions while the pair were on a USO trip together in 2006. Though he apologized, acknowledged some wrongdoing and called for an ethics investigation to be initiated, Franken resisted early calls for his resignation, even after additional accusations of misconduct surfaced.
The tipping point seemed to come on Wednesday, when, in a coordinated effort, Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., Patty Murray, D-Wash., and Kamala Harris, D-Calif., each called for Franken to resign.
A host of additional Democratic legislators and Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez later joined the initial group of female senators in urging Franken to give up his seat.
In his speech Thursday, Franken advocated for the public to believe the accounts of women who voiced claims of sexual assault and harassment, but steadfastly continued his denial of some of the allegations against him and at no point in his remarks did he offer an apology.