After mounting sexual harassment allegations and pressure from his colleagues to resign, Al Franken announced that he will resign his Senate seat in the next few weeks.
Franken directly addressed the #MeToo movement in his resignation speech. “We were finally beginning to listen to women in the ways in which men’s actions affect them. The moment was long overdue,” Franken said in his brief and shaky speech on the Senate floor. “Then the conversation turned to me.”
“A number of women have come forward,” Franken said, quickly summarizing the now nine allegations of sexual harassment. “All women deserve to be heard and their experiences taken seriously,” he added before flatly denying the allegations against him. There is, he said, a “false impression that I was admitting to doing things I haven’t done,” and characterized some of the allegations as “simply not true,” while others, he indicated “I remember very differently.”
Franken repeatedly emphasized his respect for women. “I have used my power to be a champion of women. I have earned a reputation as someone who respects the women I work alongside every day,” Franken said. “I know who I really am,” he added, indicating that he was resigning not out of guilt, but because of the pressure from colleagues. “I know in my heart that nothing I have done as a senator has brought dishonor on this institution [...] I will be resigning as a member of the United States Senate.”
After he announced his resignation, he drew attention to the “irony” of President Donald Trump remaining in the White House, even after numerous allegations of sexual harassment and tape in which Trump a brags about sexual assault. He drew attention to the continued Republican support of the president, as well as Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore. There is “irony in the fact that I’m leaving,” Franken said, when Trump is not and Roy Moore “campaigns for the Senate with the full support of his party.”
Franken thanked fellow Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar and his family before concluding, “This has been a tough few weeks, but I am a very lucky man. I’m going to be just fine.”