US Democratic senator Al Franken to quit over sexual abuse
Al Franken, a two-term senator from Minnesota, was first accused in November by a news anchor of forcing a kiss on her and groping her during an entertainment tour for US forces in 2006.world Updated: Dec 07, 2017 23:26 IST
Facing allegations of sexual abuse by multiple women, Democratic senator Al Franken said on Thursday he would resign in the coming weeks, becoming the second US lawmaker to fall in the wake of the #MeToo movement sweeping the country.
“Today, I am announcing that in the coming weeks I will be resigning as a member of the United States Senate,” Franken said in a speech from the floor of the House.
John Conyers, the number two Democrat in the House of Representatives, was the first to resign earlier in the week. He was accused by several women of verbal abuse, inappropriate touching and groping over the decades.
The #MeToo movement, triggered by a report in The New York Times, has led to resignations, ousters and investigations in practically every aspect of American life — showbiz, media, sports and music.
Franken, a two-term senator from Minnesota, was first accused in November by a news anchor of forcing a kiss on her and groping her while she slept during an entertainment tour of US forces in 2006. Franken was then a comedian.
He had apologised and asked for a probe of his conduct by the Senate’s ethics committee.
But several more women levelled accusations against him since, making it difficult for him to continue, and for the Democratic party to support him given its calls for Roy Moore, a Republican running for the Senate from Alabama, to drop out.
Moore faces a string of allegations of sexually inappropriate behaviour against women, some of whom were minors at the time.
Calls for Franken’s resignation came from Democratic colleagues in the Senate, led by New York senator Kristen Gillibrand, who said in a statement, “While senator Franken is entitled to have the ethics committee conclude its review, I believe it would be better for our country if he sent a clear message that any kind of mistreatment of women in our society isn't acceptable by stepping aside to let someone else serve.”
Her call was joined first by female colleagues in the Democratic Caucus and then by the men, including Chuck Schumer, the leader of the Senate Democrats, who said, “I consider senator Franken a dear friend and greatly respect his accomplishments, but he has a higher obligation to his constituents and the Senate, and he should step down immediately.”