Democrat Minnesota Sen. Al Franken has been hit with allegations of sexually inappropriate behavior by no less than four different accusers — behavior for which he has “apologized” while simultaneously refusing to admit it actually occurred.
We’ve all seen the picture of Franken appearing to grope accuser Leeann Tweeden’s breasts, and heard her account of him forcing his tongue into her mouth. Two other women claim he groped their butts while posing for pictures, and another claimed to have been stalked and harassed for days after an argument.
After taking time to “reflect” on the accusations over the Thanksgiving holiday, Franken returned to Capitol Hill on Monday and issued yet another apology for his alleged behavior while he still refused to admit whether or not he’d actually done the things he was accused of doing.
The Washington Post compiled many of Franken’s statements made in “slippery, politician-y language” that failed to confirm or deny his alleged activity, and called him out for appearing to try to take both sides — supporting the accusers while maintaining his innocence — in the ever-widening conversation about sexual misconduct by people in power.
“It remains to be seen whether that evasive explanation satisfies a Senate ethics investigation, or his constituents,” wrote The Post’s Amber Phillips. “Since Franken seems intent on trying to keep his job rather than step down over these allegations, it looks like we’ll get to find out.”
Indeed we will, though likely not by way of the Ethics Committee, who will most certainly do little more than slap him on the wrist with a “tsk, tsk” reminder not to get caught doing it again.
Franken’s constituency, on the other hand, is a far different matter, and if a recent editorial by the Minneapolis Star Tribune is any indication, they are just as perplexed by his “apology” and non-admittance of behavior as The Post was, and have grown impatient with his double-speak.
The Star Tribune noted right off the bat that “his apology falls lamentably short in several respects.”
They pointed out how Franken stressed how important it was “that we listen to women,” but then noted how he offered up rebuttals or claimed no memory of what the women said actually happened — “Franken apologized, but for what, exactly?”
They also took issue with the slippery language the senator used — such as stating he “would never intentionally” grope a woman’s butt even as he stated that he liked to hug a lot — and asked, “Can one credibly apologize for acts without acknowledging they occurred?”
The editorial noted that Franken claimed he was holding himself accountable, but wrote, “Franken’s apology is less a statement of accountability and more akin to ‘I’m sorry for what you think I did.’”
Of course, the Star Tribune couldn’t help but let their liberal bias shine through, as they surmised that Franken might be trying to “ride out the storm” of allegations against him the same way President Donald Trump and Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore have done.
They also lamented how his liberal voice was direly needed in the Senate to take on such issues as the tax reform bill, the rolling back of the (mis-named) net neutrality rules, the alleged dismantling of the State Department, and support for legislation to help rape victims, among other issues.
Nevertheless, Franken “has much to do to regain Minnesotans’ trust. It may not be possible.”
They ended the editorial by urging the senator to “consider what is best for Minnesota and to weigh that more heavily than what might be best for his political career.”
We couldn’t agree more with that last statement, but we won’t be holding our breath waiting for Franken to make the right decision.
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