Embattled Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) made his resignation from the Senate official on Tuesday after getting swamped with allegations of sexual misconduct from multiple women, paving the way for Minnesota Lt. Gov. Tina Smith to take his place effective Wednesday.
Last month, Franken announced that he would step down from his post after over half a dozen women described salacious run-ins with the “Saturday Night Live” alum-turned-lawmaker, USA Today reported. The tide turning against Franken prompted a wave of congressional Democrats, including many women lawmakers, to demand his resignation.
“Serving in the United States Senate has been the great honor of my life,” he said in his December 7 resignation speech. “I know in my heart that nothing I have done as a senator, nothing has brought dishonor on this institution. I am confident that the ethics committee would agree.
“Nevertheless, today I am announcing that in the coming weeks I will be resigning as member of the United States Senate… It’s become clear that I can’t both pursue the Ethics Committee process and at the same time remain an effective senator for [the people of Minnesota.]”
Franken’s speech was met with disappointment by left-leaning pundits who felt that he came off as stubbornly unapologetic. Trump supporters also blasted Franken for attempting to deflect the allegations against him by citing the “irony” of sexual misconduct claims against the president.
He will be replaced by Smith, a member of the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party who rose to prominence as Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton’s chief of staff and eventual lieutenant governor, Fox News reported. She previously managed Walter Mondale’s unsuccessful 2002 Senate run and his son Ted Mondale’s equally unsuccessful 1998 gubernatorial campaign.
“She’s soft-spoken. She would prefer to be in a room negotiating or talking with people than giving a political speech. That’s not really her style,” Lawrence Jacobs, director of the Center for the Study of Politics and Governance at the University of Minnesota, told the outlet. “She can do it, but it’s something that she’s had to learn.”