Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., announced his resignation from the floor of the U.S. Senate Thursday morning amid multiple allegations of groping and sexual misconduct.
Calls for Franken’s resignation were amplified Wednesday when a seventh accuser, reported by Politico, came forward to accuse the Senator of forcibly kissing her after a taping of his radio show in 2006.
“This decision is not about me, it’s about the people of Minnesota,” Franken said from the floor. “All women deserve to be heard, and their experiences taken seriously."
Franken’s resignation will take place in the coming weeks, with Gov. Mark Dayton appointing an interim replacement until a special election can be held next November. Franken's term ends in 2021.
“I extend my deepest regrets to the women, who have had to endure their unwanted experiences with Senator Franken,” Dayton wrote in a statement. “Events have unfolded quickly; thus, I have not yet decided on my appointment to fill this upcoming vacancy. I expect to make and announce my decision in the next couple of days.”
The accusations began in mid-November when radio anchor Leeann Tweeden accused him of groping her in 2006. Since then, eight women total have come forward to share their stories about Franken groping them in photo opportunities or attempting to forcibly kiss them without their consent.
“Serving in the U.S. Senate has been the great honor of my life,” Franken said. “I know in my heart that nothing I have done as a senator, nothing, has brought dishonor on this institution.”
Franken’s resignation comes two days after Rep. John Conyers, D-Michigan, announced he would leave his seat after multiple misconduct allegations by previous employees.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., posted on Facebook Thursday: “As the women who have come forward to tell their stories across America have made clear, sexual harassment is never acceptable. In every workplace in America, including the U.S. Senate, we must confront the challenges of harassment and misconduct. Nothing is easy or pleasant about this, but we all must recognize that our workplace cultures — and the way we treat each other as human beings — must change.”