The Corner

Politics & Policy

It Took Way Too Long for Senate Democrats to Demand Franken’s Resignation

As Rich noted on The Corner earlier this afternoon, the dam appears to have finally broken on Al Franken. A seventh woman has come forward, this one alleging that the Minnesota Democrat attempted to forcibly kiss her in 2006.

Apparently this was the final straw for Franken. Senate Democrats finally found their voices, calling on Franken to resign his Senate seat. And according to some accounts, these Democrats deserve to be praised for taking a brave stand. Let’s quickly recap this Franken nightmare.

On November 16, nearly three weeks ago to the day, a woman named Leeann Tweeden accused Franken of kissing and groping her without her consent. A photo accompanied the story, a photo of Franken appearing to grope Tweeden as she slept.

The situation devolved from there. Over the following week, several women accused the Democratic senator of inappropriately touching them during photo ops. This latest report alleges that he tried to forcibly kiss her after a taping of his radio show; Franken denies it.

For some unknown reason, Democratic senators have suddenly decided that this latest allegation is the last straw, and as of this writing, 23 have called on their colleague to resign immediately. (A running list is available here via CNN.)

MSNBC host Chris Hayes suggested on Twitter that having a number of female Democratic senators has made the party more willing to address sexual-misconduct than the GOP — never mind the fact that all of those supposedly noble progressive women waited three weeks to demand consequences for Franken. Vox, meanwhile, published a piece insisting that female Democrats had single-handedly rescued the party from the shame of covering for a sexual abuser.

It is utterly absurd to suggest that the decision to call for Franken’s resignation was anything more than pure political calculus on the part of Senate Democrats. They relinquished their chance to virtue signal when they all but ignored the first six of Franken’s accusers.

Every Democratic senator had ample information well before this afternoon indicating that Franken had engaged in incredibly inappropriate behavior — if not outright sexual battery. And yet they all chose to remain silent or to offer non-answers when questioned about whether Franken should step down. Not one single senator suggested, until this afternoon, that, if the allegations were true, the Democrat ought to relinquish his seat.

New York Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand — who is among the Democratic women being praised for taking a principled stand against sexual misconduct — was asked in late November whether Franken should resign following the allegations. “It’s his decision,” she replied, noncommittally.

As recently as yesterday afternoon, Gillibrand was still dodging the issue. When asked at an event if she’d request that Franken resign, she said, “I am not going to say that today. But it is something I’m very troubled about.”

Franken’s office has said the senator will make an announcement tomorrow at 12:26 p.m.

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