Al Franken’s Resignation Speech

"In the coming weeks, I will be resigning as a member of the United States Senate." – Sen. Al Franken

— Chris Geidner (@chrisgeidner) December 7, 2017

So January, after the CR/DACA & Tax fights and with space to line up a replacement. Fair enough. Bye. https://t.co/9516c2oH1G

— Zeddy ( me [ person ] ) (@ZeddRebel) December 7, 2017

My first thought was “After the holidays, which will make it easier for his staffers to restructure their paperwork, update their resumes, and keep unpleasant at family gatherings to a minimum.” (Yeah, I’ve always been in the lower levels of the employment pyramid.)

The Washington Post has a transcript:

A couple of months ago I felt that we had entered an important moment in the history of this country. We were finally beginning to listen to women about the ways in which men’s actions affect them. The moment was long overdue. I was excited for that conversation and hopeful that it would result in real change that made life better for women all across the country and in every part of our society.

Then the conversation turned to me.

Over the last few weeks a number of women have come forward to talk about how they felt my actions had affected them.

I was shocked. I was upset. But in responding to their claims I also wanted to be respectful of that broader conversation, because all women deserve to be heard and their experiences taken seriously. I think that was the right thing to do. I also think it gave some people the false impression that I was admitting to doing things that in fact I haven’t done.

Some of the allegations against me are simply not true. Others, I remember very differently. I said at the outset that the ethics committee was the right venue for these allegations to be heard and investigated and evaluated on their merits, that I was prepared to cooperate fully and that I was confident in the outcome…

Serving in the United States Senate has been the great honor of my life. I know in my heart that nothing I have done as a senator — nothing — has brought dishonor on this institution, and I am confident that the ethics committee would agree. Nevertheless today I am announcing that in the coming weeks I will be resigning as a member of the United States Senate.

I of all people am aware there is some irony in the fact I am leaving while a man who has bragged on tape about his history of sexual assault sits in the Oval Office and a man who has repeatedly preyed on young girls campaigns for the Senate with the full support of his party. But this decision is not about me. It’s about the people of Minnesota. It has become clear that I can’t both pursue the ethics committee process and at the same time remain an effective senator for them.

Let me be clear. I may be resigning my seat but I am not giving up my voice. I will continue to stand up for the things I believe in as a citizen and as an activist. The Minnesotans deserve a senator who can focus with all her energy on addressing the challenges they face every day…

For the record, everything I’ve seen so far suggests that Franken has behaved ineptly, sometimes stupidly, but not criminally. If the accusations are true, he deserved punishment, although not IMO to this degree. But given current circumstances, I also think he’s making the best possible choices for himself, his staffers, his party, and his country… and I look forward to his next steps!

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Watching the politics of sexual harassment unfold, I find myself thinking of what Frederick Douglass (whose work people are appreciating more and more) said about Abraham Lincoln 1/ https://t.co/cOCeOhrKZx pic.twitter.com/0qTJbLuotD

— Paul Krugman (@paulkrugman) December 6, 2017



But they are acting. They are cleaning house, and taking the issue seriously. Meanwhile, the GOP is rallying behind a child molester. The parties are not the same. 3/

— Paul Krugman (@paulkrugman) December 6, 2017

A story on the immediate impact, also from the WaPo:

The resignation of not one but two prominent Democratic lawmakers over allegations of inappropriate behavior points to the wider reckoning taking place around the country as women come forward to accuse powerful men of misconduct. Members of Congress have spent the past month grappling with how best to respond to allegations of harassment against colleagues and criticism of the way workplace complaints are handled in the legislative branch…

He is expected to make his resignation effective at the end of the month, according to a person familiar with his decision-making. This timetable could allow him to cast several consequential votes on the Republican tax bill, funding the government and possibly the fate of “dreamers,” immigrants brought to the country illegally as children…

Once Franken makes his resignation official, Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton (D) will pick a replacement to serve until a November 2018 special election. Whoever wins the special election will have to run again in 2020 to begin a new term if they want to stay in the Senate.

In a statement Thursday, Dayton extended “my deepest regrets” to Franken’s accusers while saying his heart “goes out to Al and his family during this difficult time.”

“I have not yet decided on my appointment to fill this upcoming vacancy. I expect to make and announce my decision in the next couple of days,” he stated.

Franken suggested Thursday that he will be replaced by a woman. Minnesota’s Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party has a large and largely female bench of up-and-coming candidates, three of whom are seeking the party’s 2018 gubernatorial nomination…

The drive to purge Franken was a dramatic indication of the political toxicity that has grown around the issue of sexual harassment in recent months. It also stood as a stark — and deliberate — contrast with how the Republicans are handling Moore’s candidacy in Alabama, where voters will cast ballots next week in a special Senate election…

For some, it was an emotional moment. Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), sitting just behind Franken, removed her glasses twice to wipe tears from her eyes. In the visitors gallery, Franken’s wife Franni sat with a group of friends, family and consultants, including Klobuchar’s husband, John Bessler, and Franken’s top political aide, Mandy Grunwald. Some clasped tissues; others held their heads in their hands as they watched the speech.

When Franken concluded, Klobuchar approached and hugged him. So did Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), who slapped him on the back as they tightly embraced.

Franken then turned to the 26 aides seated behind him, shaking each of their hands and hugging them. The final aide he greeted, a younger woman, both laughed and burst into tears as they spoke…

I’m so old, I can remember when “everybody knew” that Joe Biden had permanently destroyed his political future back in 1987, when he dropped out of the presidential primaries over accusations of plagiarism. Right now I’m hoping Franken’s ongoing political career is as long-lasting and consequential as Biden’s has proven to be!

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