Embattled Minnesota Democratic Sen. Al Franken announced Thursday that he is resigning from Congress, following allegations from multiple women of sexual misconduct.
While Franken maintained that some of the allegations against him are not true, and others he recalled differently than his accusers, he acknowledged that they had prohibited him from effectively conducting his responsibilities as Senator. His remarks came a day after a flood of his Senate Democratic colleagues called for his resignation, and as he faced an Ethics Committee probe.
“This decision is not about me. It’s about the people of Minnesota,” Franken said. “And it’s become clear that I can’t both pursue the Ethics Committee process and at the same time remain an effective senator for them.”
“I of all people am aware that there is some irony in the fact that 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 added, referring to numerous allegations against President Donald Trump and Alabama Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore, both of whom have denied those allegations.
Franken said his resignation will take place in the coming weeks. Read a partial transcript of his remarks below:
A couple 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 as prepared to cooperate fully and that I was confident in the outcome. You know an important part of the conversation we’ve been having the last few months has been about how men abuse their power and privilege to hurt women. I am proud that during my time in the Senate i have used my power to be a champion of women. And that I have earned a reputation as someone who respects the women I work alongside every day. I know there’s been a very differs picture of me painted over the last few weeks but I know who I really am. 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 that there is some irony in the fact that 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. And it’s 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. But Minnesotans deserve a Senator who can focus with all her energy on addressing the challenges they face every day. There is a big part of me that will always regret having to walk away from this job with so much work left to be done. But I have faith that the work will continue because I have faith in the people who have helped me do it.