Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) will not be resigning in the wake of a scandal that saw a Los Angeles radio host provide photographic evidence that the former “Saturday Night Live” star had inappropriately groped her.
A spokesperson for Franken replied with a perfunctory “no” when asked whether Franken would step down from his position in the Senate, where Franken had emerged as one of the most prominent Democrats and was frequently floated as a possible 2020 contended, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reported.
“He is spending time with his family in Washington, D.C., and will be through the Thanksgiving holiday, and he’s doing a lot of reflecting,” the staffer told the newspaper via text message.
Franken found himself at the center of a firestorm of controversy last week after Leeann Tweeden published the story of her sordid encounter with Franken. She claims that, during a 2006 USO tour in the Middle East, Franken aggressively forced her to kiss him under the premise of rehearsing for a comedy sketch before being photographed touching her breasts while she slept.
“At the time I didn’t want to cause trouble,” Tweeden wrote. “We were in the middle of a war zone, it was the first show of our Holiday tour, I was a professional, and I could take care of myself. I told a few others on the tour what Franken had done and they knew how I felt about it. I tried to let it go, but I was angry.”
Franken, who enjoyed a 58 percent approval rating prior to the allegations surfacing, is now facing calls from former supporters to resign.
“I thought about the woman in the photo, and what I would feel like if that was me,” said Melissa Davenport, a former fan of Franken who attended a rally against sexual harassment at the Minnesota State Capitol on Friday and believes that the senator should step down.
While Franken’s Senate colleagues have soundly denounced his actions, calls for his resignation were conspicuously absent, with lawmakers instead demanding an ethics investigation. Franken has also called for an ethics investigation to take place.