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US House Republican Trent Franks resigns after complaints of harassment

Trent Franks said the discussion about surrogacy came up with “two previous female subordinates” because he and his wife, who have struggled with fertility, wanted to have a child. He said he regretted that the conversations had “caused distress.”

world Updated: Dec 08, 2017 17:38 IST
Yashwant Raj
Yashwant Raj
Hindustan Times, Washington
Trent Franks,House of Representatives,Harassment
US Rep Trent Franks arrives ahead of FBI Director Christopher Wray testifying before a House Judiciary Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington.(Reuters)

Just hours after a Democratic senator announced he was resigning over allegations of inappropriate sexual behaviour, a Republican member of the House of Representatives, Trent Franks, said he will be quitting over some “uncomfortable” conversations he had with female members of his staff.

Franks said in a statement he had learnt the House ethics committee was investigating conversations he had had with two female staff members about infertility and surrogacy that made them both “uncomfortable” and rather than face a “sensationalized trial”, he will resign, effective next January.

Franks, who is a congressman from Arizona, became Thursday the third member of US congress in as many days to announce the intention to resign over sexual misconduct following Senator Al Franken, also on Thursday, and John Conyers, the second senior-most Democrat in the House, on Tuesday.

The wave of resignations at the US congress comes weeks after the exposure of Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein as someone who used his powers to sexually abuse women.

For Democrats, who forced out fellow Democrats Conyers and Franken, the issue has taken on political overtones centered on a senate race in Alabama, in which Republican candidate Roy Moore is facing allegations of sexual abuse, including some from women who were minors at the time.

With Conyers and Franken gone, Democrats believe the onus is now on the Republican party to forced Moore out of the race. The party had already called for him to drop out, but has had to recalibrate its position after US President Donald Trump came out in support of Moore.

Democrats have Republicans on the defensive. While Franks said he was resigning “in the midst of this current cultural and media climate”, Speaker Paul Ryan, a Republican, said in a statement he found the allegations against Franks “credible claims of misconduct.”

First Published: Dec 08, 2017 08:59 IST