Al Franken resigns from Senate after poll shows Americans think the issue of sexual harassment is more important than his white male ego
WASHINGTON D.C. -- On Tuesday, Minnesota's junior Senator Al Franken shocked reporters by announcing that he is resigning from office just days after multiple women accused the Democrat of subjecting them to sexual harassment and humiliation.
In a statement, Franken wrote: "I have come to realize that this isn't about whether or not well-meaning pro-choice white men like me who have been publicly shamed into apologizing for the disgusting way we've treated women deserve to keep our jobs - just because we really like them. This is about the credibility of the Democratic Party and whether we view women as full, equal citizens in contemporary American society. Through my own actions, I have discredited myself and discredited the entire progressive movement, which literally depends on women voters, a massive oppressed group that liberal politicians have been all too willing to degrade, insult, ignore and exploit while still counting on women to show up at the polls. That horrifying historical pattern stops now, with me, here, today. No longer will I selfishly insist that my political career is more important than the Democratic Party ability to demonstrate its commitment to the greater principle of women's equality. I'm going to get out of the way, and let someone who isn't tarnished take my place."
On Twitter, President Hillary Rodham Clinton reacted to Franken's astonishing about-face with a single word: "Good."
FiveThirtyEight's Nate Silver praised Franken's decision to resign as "less hypocritical than I expected," noting that it protected the Democratic Party in the long run.
"There are sexual predators and open misogynists in both major political parties. But if the Democrats are going to campaign effectively on the critical issue of protecting women from discrimination, harassment, and sexual assault, 'liberal' men like Franken can't condemn sexism with one hand then grope female voters' breasts with another," he said.
Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton, a Democrat, will appoint Franken's replacement.
Last week, Leeann Tweeden, a Los Angeles radio host and former model, wrote that Franken kissed her against her will and groped her during a 2006 USO trip to Kuwait, Iraq, and Afghanistan - the same trip that inspired Franken to run for political office according to his latest book, Al Franken: Giant of the Senate. Since Tweeden came forward, four other women have said Franken groped them.