On November 16, radio host Leeann Tweeden dropped a bombshell on Sen. Al Franken (D-MN). In 2006, while on a USO tour in the Middle East, she said Franken groped and forcibly kissed her, shoving his tongue into her throat. There’s a photograph of Franken groping her. Both Sens. Mitch McConnell and Chuck Schumer have called for an ethics probe to be launched; Franken said he would cooperate. With the rot of Hollywood being exposed, along with the allegations against Alabama Republican Roy Moore, who has been accused of molesting and sexually assaulting teenage girls, the Franken story has become an outright fiasco. And now, we have one writer for Slate, a Washington Post-affiliated site, saying that Franken has to go:
There is no rational reason to doubt the truth of Tweeden’s accusations, no legitimate defense of Franken’s actions, and no ambiguity here at all: Franken should resign from the Senate immediately. Democrats should call for him to step down straightaway. This revelation is a test of the Democratic Party’s consistency, honesty, and decency. If Democrats wish to preserve whatever moral standing they have today, they must exhort Franken to leave the Senate, with no hesitation or reservations.
Franken, it seems, won’t go quietly. His first response to Tweeden’s article is a case study in pseudo-apologetic denial, an effort to gaslight Tweeden while purporting to express regret. “I certainly don’t remember the rehearsal for the skit in the same way,” Franken said, “but I send my sincerest apologies to Leeann. As to the photo, it was clearly intended to be funny but wasn’t. I shouldn’t have done it.” He deserves no credit for this hollow contrition. Franken “doesn’t remember” the harassment “in the same way”? His actions were “intended to be funny”? Touching a woman’s breasts without her consent is not a joke. It is a crime. Franken is not really admitting guilt or apologizing to Tweeden. He is laying the groundwork for his own defense.
The hypocrisy of Franken’s reaction is galling. Following the Harvey Weinstein scandal, the senator wrote an impassioned Facebook post declaring that sexual harassment is “appalling” and “far too common.” He added that it “takes a lot of courage to come forward, and we owe them our thanks.” Franken then praised Gretchen Carlson for writing about “the disappointing responses women often face when they go public both embolden harassers and encourage victims to stay silent.”
Then again, over at The Washington Post proper, you have one feminist writing a column that Franken should stay because…he’s a liberal Democrat. So, in some ways, the Left has not shed their bad behavior from the Bill Clinton days.
UPDATE: Via Twitchy – yeah, there's some victim-shaming being doled out in order to save Stuart Smalley.
UPDATE II: Via Axios Franken has cancelled a book event in Atlanta, Georgia.