After facing multiple allegations of sexual misconduct, Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) issued a new statement while speaking to the press on Monday in the U.S. Capitol building. He appeared to validate some of the claims against him.
“I’m sorry,” he began. “I know there are no magic words I can say to regain your trust, and I know that’s going to take time. I’m ready to start that process, and it starts with going back to work today.
Asked about his denial of some of the alleged wrongdoing, Franken replied, “There are different allegations...the Leeann Tweeden. Leeann and I were on the USO tour together and on the kiss at the rehearsal, we were rehearsing for a sketch. I said that I recall that differently from Leeann, but I feel that you have to respect women’s experience.”
Tweeden recently came forward to accuse Franken of forcefully and passionately kissing her in Afghanistan in 2006. He did not deny placing his hands over her breasts while she slept after Tweeden released a photo of him grinning while doing it. He also did not address that photo during his press address on Monday.
“And so I apologized to her, and I meant it,” he continued. “And I was very grateful that she accepted it.”
“As far as…” he began, “I take a lot of pictures in Minnesota. Thousands of pictures. Meet tens of thousands of people. So those are instances that I do not remember.”
Franken was referencing the other accusations by women who claim he grabbed their behinds while taking photos with them.
“From these stories, it has become clear that there are some women — and one is too many — who feel I have done something disrespectful, and that has hurt them,” he continued. “And for that I am tremendously sorry. And I know that I am going to have to be much more conscious in these circumstances, much more careful, much more sensitive, and that this will not happen again going forward.”
Asked by another reporter about his insistence that he won’t resign his Senate seat and what kind of behavior it would take for him to resign, Franken shook his head and said, “I’m not going to get into that or speculate on that. I’ve been trying to take responsibility by apologizing. I am going to be accountable. We are going to cooperate completely with the ethics investigation.”
“I’m also going to try to learn from my mistakes,” he added. “In doing so, I have been doing a lot of reflecting.”
Asked about his earlier statement where he said he couldn’t assure that public that more women wouldn’t come forward to accuse him, Franken replied, “If you had asked me two weeks ago, would any woman come forward with an allegation like this, I would have said ‘no.’ And, so, I cannot speculate. This has been a shock. It’s been extremely humbling. I am embarrassed. I feel ashamed.”
Watch the full press conference below:
What do you think about his new statement? In other news, another member of the “Partridge Family” show has just died.