Over 18 months after former Sen. Al Franken was accused of groping 8 women, a group of 7 top Democrats now say they regret calling for his resignation amid the height of the #MeToo movement.
Franken, a former star of Saturday Night Live and high ranking Democrat senator, resigned from his office after 8 women came forward to accuse him of touching them inappropriately. He did so after more than 30 of his Senate colleagues called for his resignation, and did not wait for any regulatory body to examine the accusations levied against him.
Now, 7 current and former senators are saying they regret calling for his immediate resignation during the height of the #MeToo movement.
Former North Dakota Sen. Heidi Heitkamp said demanding Franken’s ouster was an action she took ‘in the heat of the moment, without concern for exactly what this was.’ Illinois Sen. Tammy Duckworth said ‘more facts’ were needed at the time, and ‘due process didn’t happen.’
Sen. Jeff Merkley of Oregon, Sen. Tom Udall of New Mexico and former Florida Sen. Bill Nelson had similar words of contrition, largely focusing of the quick judgment that denied Franken an investigation that could conceivably have cleared him.
It should also be noted that Franken has repeatedly said he regrets buckling to public pressure to resign, and believes he should have attempted to fight the push for his resignation.
The Daily Mail noted that “Franken himself says he ‘absolutely’ regrets bowing to pressure and abandoning his seat in the upper chamber of Congress,” and especially since he considers President Donald Trump a more egregious offender than him.
In a farewell address to the Senate floor in 2017, Franken said that “I, of all people, am aware that there is some irony in the fact that I am leaving while a man who has bragged on tape about his history of sexual assault sits the Oval Office,” referencing the misquoted tape of President Trump speaking to Billy Bush in a private setting more than a decade ago.
This stunning reversal of top politicians may mark the official end to the #MeToo movement, as many of those maligned by it have now been given sympathy and, in some cases, exonerated of their supposed crimes.
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