While seven current and former senators who called for Al Franken to resign at the end of 2017 now feel bad about their decision, Kirsten Gillibrand is not one of them. Speaking at a Bustle Digital Group event on Monday night, Gillibrand shared that she does “not have any regrets” about her leading role in pushing for Franken to step down.
“There was 34 other senators that called on him to resign,” Gillibrand said on Monday night, according to the Washington Post. “You wouldn’t know that today, given I seem to stand alone. But I could not stay silent. I could not defend his actions.”
Gillibrand’s message for those senators who now have buyer’s remorse? Don’t be cowards! “Now I could have told those seven senators, and any of the senators—the 35 senators who came out against him—that there is no prize for someone who tries to hold accountable a powerful man who is good at his day job,” she said. “But we should have the courage to do it anyway. So no, I do not have any regrets.”
Referencing the blowback she has received, which has included some major Democratic Party donors who are now shunning her presidential campaign, she added, “And to somehow blame me for a man’s action and a man’s decision, it’s pretty absurd.” This double standard, she noted, did not affect only her. In the lead-up to his resignation, women in the Senate were asked “every day, multiple times a day” about Franken.
“Were the male senators asked? Absolutely not. So let’s be clear, there is absolutely a double standard,” Gillibrand said.
Gillibrand was also critical of Jane Mayer’s New Yorker piece on Al Franken that was published on Monday morning, pointing out that it focused almost solely on Leeann Tweeden, the first woman to come forward with allegations against Franken. “There was really no critical or investigative journalism or reporting on the other seven, and that certainly causes me pause,” Gillibrand said. “He had eight credible allegations against him—two since he was senator, and the eighth one happened to be a congressional staffer.”
Will Gillibrand ever have to stop answering questions about Franken? Probably not!
“Women are asked to hold accountable their colleagues. The men are not,” Gillibrand said. “Who is being held accountable for Al Franken’s decision to resign? Women senators, including me. It’s outrageous. It’s absurd.”