Democratic lawmakers — and many Republican ones — have been quick to call for Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore to drop out of the race amidst accusations that he assaulted a 14-year-old and 16-year-old in the 1970s. Moore denies the assaults.
But on Thursday, Democrats had a different message for Sen. Al Franken, who was accused by a woman of forcibly kissing her and even admitted that he took a photo of himself groping her while she slept during a USO tour in 2006. After reporter Leeann Tweeden dropped her bombshell on Franken and released a photo of him inappropriately touching her, the senator apologized and volunteered himself to be the subject of an ethics investigation.
He did not, however, offer to resign. Democrat lawmakers, with the exception of Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), seemed slow to respond.
According to the Washington Examiner, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said, “I hope and expect that the Ethics Committee will fully investigate this troubling incident, as they should with any credible allegation of sexual harassment."
Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) added, “There is never an excuse for this behavior — ever. What Senator Franken did was wrong, and it should be referred to the Ethics Committee for review.”
“I certainly believe women when they speak out. I am predisposed to believe the women who have the courage to speak out,” said Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.).
According to Slate, Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) declared, “Sexual harassment and groping are never OK, they’re never funny. And Senator Franken will have to address the allegations.”
Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Vt.) added, “Well, the behavior’s unacceptable. And it sounds from his own statement that he’s not denying it.”
“This is unacceptable behavior and extremely disappointing,” commented Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.). “I am glad Al came out and apologized, but that doesn’t reverse what he’s done or end the matter. I support an ethics committee investigation into these accusations and I hope this latest example of the deep problems on this front spurs continued action to address it.”
On the Republican side, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) also called for an ethics investigation of Franken. Absent in all these statements, though, was a call for Franken to resign.
What do you think about these responses? In related news, a conservative radio talk show host has also accused Franken of stalking and harassing her and said she would love to speak at the ethics investigation.