“View” host Joy Behar defended disgraced former Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) Wednesday, calling a photo of him appearing to grope radio anchor Leeann Tweeden as she slept a “sophomoric joke.” She insisted he was a “gentleman.”
"Right after Al Franken attacked … Jeff Sessions," Behar claimed, "he suddenly became the target of the right wing, to get him out of office, and then Gilligrand, Gillibrand—is that her name? She was out to get him also, and the Democrats decided, ‘Oh, we're going to take the high road,' and they basically lost a really good senator, in my opinion."
Franken was forced to resign after being accused of groping multiple women. Leeann Tweeden provided photographic evidence of former Sen. Franken appearing to grope her as she slept in November. She also said Franken forcibly kissed her, an incident Franken says he remembers differently.
“That was a sophomoric joke by a comedian,” Behar said dismissively of the photo. “In a time when he didn’t know he was going to become a senator. He was fooling around. He was a comic. And, to his credit, he said, ‘She didn’t have any ability to consent. She had every right to feel violated by that photo.’”
“So he's a gentleman, and he took the hit," Behar concluded. "Now, can we please move on and get the great senator back, and get rid of the president."
Franken said at an event Monday that he hasn’t ruled out running for public office again.
“View” co-host Meghan McCain defended Tweeden, saying “he also is accused of forcibly kissing her as well, she came on the show, she’s an old, old friend of mine, Leeann Tweeden, and I believe women should be believed.”
“You just said it was a ‘right-wing attack’ or whatever, on the impetus of Jeff Sessions,” McCain told Behar. “That’s crazy! On so many different levels. And by the way, it was Democratic Senators that did this to him.”
“I know that, they did not back him up,” Behar admitted.
Behar herself took a different tone when the allegations initially came out in November, saying "It was disappointing to hear this about Al Franken. I can’t back Al.”
In January, Behar went after Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) for not defending Franken when she appeared on the show.
“I just thought that was unfair,” she told Gillibrand, “to make him an example when the president of the United States had so many allegations of sexual harassment against him and I don’t see him going anywhere.”
“Al Franken is a friend of mine,” Gillibrand said. “He did great work in the Judiciary Committee, so it was really hard and really heartbreaking.”
She said he was “entitled to a hearing, he is, but he’s not entitled to my silence, Joy, and when you have eight credible allegations, multiple women. I have a 14-year-old son. I have a 9-year-old son.”
“How am I supposed to tell him,” she continued. “it’s OK to grab a woman here, it’s OK to grab a woman here, but it’s not OK to grab a woman here? Absolutely not! I’m not going to have that conversation. That is the wrong conversation to be having.”
“Why would you want to hold our elected leaders to the lowest standard instead of the highest standard?” she asked.