The tide is turning against embattled Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) after a sixth woman came forward to accuse the one-time “Saturday Night Live” star of trying to forcibly kiss her.
A coalition of female Senate Democrats came together on Wednesday to finally demand Franken’s resignation, Politico reported. The movement was kicked off by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and was promptly joined by Sens. Mazie Hirono (HI), Claire McCaskill (MO), Maggie Hassan (NH), Patty Murray (WA), Kamala Harris (CA), Tammy Baldwin (WI), Heidi Heitkamp (ND), Debbie Stabenow (MI), and Maria Cantwell (WA).
“As elected officials, we should be heled to the highest standards – not the lowest,” Gillibrand wrote on Twitter. “The allegations against Sen. Franken describe behavior that cannot be tolerated. While he’s entitled to an Ethics Committee hearing, I believe he should step aside to let someone else serve.”
Democratic National Committee Chairman echoed the calls: “Sen. Al Franken should step down. Everyone must share the responsibility of building a culture of trust and respect for women in every industry and workplace and that includes our party.”
Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ), who was accused of federal corruption in a case that ended in mistrial last month, defended Franken’s right to a presumption of innocence.
“I believe in the Sixth Amendment to the Constitution that people are innocent until proven otherwise,” he said. “The Senate ethics committee, I understand is having its own review – we should wait for the review and see what they come up with.”
Franken’s latest accuser claims that she was present at the studio for a 2006 taping of his radio show when Franken got in her face and tried to kiss her.
“He was between me and the door and he was coming at me to kiss me,” she told Politico. “It was very quick and I think my brain had to work really hard to be like ‘Wait, what is happening?’ But I knew whatever was happening was not right and I ducked. I was really started by it and I just sort of booked it towards the door and he said, ‘It’s my right as an entertainer.”