U.S. Senator Al Franken of Minnesota on Monday announced he will be resigning from his Senate seat in the coming weeks amid numerous accusations by women who say that he has groped them or attempted to forcibly kiss them. “Today I am announcing that in the coming weeks I will be resigning as a member of the United States Senate,” Franken said. “This decision is not about me. It is about the people of Minnesota.”
Franken’s announcement comes a day after several female colleagues in the Senate called on him to resign. “I have spent a lot of time reflecting on Senator Franken’s behavior. Enough is enough,” Senator Kirsten Gillibrand wrote in a Facebook post.
Pressure continued to mount and by the end of Wednesday, the chair of the DNC had urged Franken to step down and Chuck Schumer, the senior senator from New York, had called Franken and asked him to step down. Franken had received support in recent weeks from women who had worked with him during his SNL years, but as the allegations piled up, so did the condemnation and the calls for him to resign.
The disgraced senator also called attention to the irony of his resignation coming “while a man who’s bragged on tape about his history of sexual assault sits in the Oval Office, and a man who repeatedly preyed upon young girls campaigns for the Senate with the full support of his party,” references to President Donald Trump and Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore.
“I may be resigning my seat, but I am not giving up my voice,” Franken said on the House floor. Then he used a pronoun that hinted at who might eventually succeed him. “Minnesotans deserve a senator who can focus with all her energy on addressing the challenges they face every day.” Franken went on to thank Amy Klobuchar, the senior senator from Minnesota, for helping him quickly transition from the entertainment world to politics when he was first elected.
“This has been a tough few weeks for me,” Franken said, adding that his family is a source of strength for him. “I’m going to be just fine.”
Watch the full video of Franken’s speech below.