Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) announced on Thursday that he plans on resigning from his Senate seat in wake of the multiple sexual harassment allegations against him.
On the floor of the Senate, Franken said he was “shocked” and “upset” by the allegations.
“Some of the allegations against me are simply not true,” said Franken. “Others, I remember very differently.”
Despite the allegations, Franken declared that he is “a champion of women.”
“I have earned a reputation as someone who respects the women I work alongside everyday,” said Franken. “I know there’s been a very different picture of me painted over the last few weeks, but I know who I really am.”
And yet, Franken said he would resign “in the coming weeks.”
“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,” Franken said in a clear jab toward President Trump and Alabama Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore. “But this decision is not about me. It’s about the people of Minnesota.”
Franken added, “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.”
The Minnesota senator concluded by stating that he would be an advocate for progressivism outside of the Senate and that he took pride in his record as a senator.
“I know that the work I’ve been able to do has improved people’s lives,” said Franken. “I would do it all over again in a heartbeat.”
One of Franken’s accusers, U.S. Army veteran Stephanie Kemplin, told MSNBC that she was “sad and appalled” that Franken didn’t apologize and take responsibility for his actions.
“He just keeps passing the buck and making it out to be… that we took his behavior the wrong way, or we misconstrued something, or just flat-out lied about what happened to us,” said Kemplin. “Justice to me would be him owning up to what he did and him to stop trying to pass the buck to individuals who possibly committed the same things, possibly more heinous, than what he’s done.”
Kemplin is one of eight women who have leveled sexual harassment allegations against Franken, which include groping and forcing a kiss onto various women.
As the accusations have mounted against Franken, Senate Democrats eventually called on him to step down. Some believe that it was a political tactic by the Democrats to corner the GOP on their support of Trump and Moore.