Senator Al Franken (D-MN.) announced Thursday that he would be retiring from the United States Senate “in the coming weeks.” During a short speech on the Senate floor, Franken admitted no guilt and appeared to imply that an ethics investigation would have exonerated him. His announcement came after several senior Democratic Party figures called for his resignation. The fact that Franken has chosen not to resign immediately, however, indicates that congressional Democrats have placed political strategy above any concerns about sexual harassment. Additionally, Franken has unwittingly provided cover for aspiring Senator Roy Moore.
“Some of the allegations against me are simply not true,” The Senator stated, “Others I remember very differently. I know in my heart, nothing that I have done as a Senator, nothing, has brought dishonor on this institution…” Doubling down on his refusal to accept any responsibility, Franken insisted that some of his past reactions to the multiple allegations against him had created a “false impression” that he was admitting any wrongdoing.
In the absence of proof or credible corroborating evidence, of course, any person accused of any criminal or other transgression has the right to deny those accusations. Despite the existence of several photographs showing the Senator putting his hands where he shouldn’t, he continues to believe he has that right of denial.
His insistence that he has done nothing wrong mirrors the Alabama Republican Senatorial candidate’s own defiance. Moreover, Franken’s decision to remain in Congress, for now, makes a mockery of any attempts by his party to suggest that Moore does not belong in the Senate.