A group of Democratic women senators, starting with Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, called on embattled Senator Al Franken to resign Wednesday as a result of the increasing number of sexual-misconduct allegations leveled at the Minnesota Democratic senator.
The initial call for resignation was quickly echoed by a number of other women Democratic senators: Senator Kamala Harris, Senator Mazie Hirono, Senator Claire McCaskill, Senator Maggie Hassan, and Senator Patty Murray. Democratic Senators Bob Casey and Sherrod Brown added their support to the calls for resignation later on Wednesday.
In making her public declaration, Gillibrand posted on Facebook that it would be better if Franken “sent a clear message that any kind of mistreatment of women in our society isn’t acceptable by stepping aside to let someone else serve.”
Several women have come forward to accuse Franken of unwanted sexual contact, the latest a former Democratic congressional aide who spoke to Politico in an account published Wednesday morning.
The accusations began last month, when Leeann Tweeden, a Los Angeles radio host, said that in 2006 Franken groped her while she was sleeping. “I felt violated,” Tweeden wrote of the experience. “Embarrassed. Belittled. Humiliated.” Since then, other women have made allegations against Franken.
Franken has since offered an apology to Tweeden and said that a photo, which Tweeden released showing Franken’s hands outstretched toward her chest as she sleeps, “was clearly intended to be funny, but wasn’t. I shouldn’t have done it.”