Sen. Al Franken announced on Thursday, December 7, that he will resign after being accused of sexual misconduct.
“Today I am announcing that in the coming weeks I will be resigning as a member of the United States Senate,” the Democratic politician, 66, said during a speech from the Senate floor. “This decision is not about me. It is about the people of Minnesota. It has become clear that I can’t both pursue the ethics committee process and at the same time remain an effective senator for them. Let me be clear, I may be resigning my seat, but I’m not giving up my voice. I will continue to stand up for the things I believe in.”
Franken went on to call out President Donald Trump and Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore, both of whom have also been accused of sexual harassment and assault. Trump, 71, and Moore, 70, have denied the allegations.
“I, of all people, am aware there is some irony by the fact that I am leaving [the Senate] while a man who bragged on tape about his history of sexual assault sits in the Oval Office, and a man who has repeatedly preyed on young girls campaigns for the Senate with the full support of his party,” the Saturday Night Live alum said on Thursday.
Franken’s announcement came one day after 35 Democratic senators, many of them women, called on him to step down. “Enough is enough,” Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand wrote on Facebook on Wednesday, December 6. “The women who have come forward are brave and I believe them.”
Los Angeles radio news anchor Leeann Tweeden became the first to accuse Franken of inappropriate sexual behavior in November. Several other women came forward in the following weeks with additional allegations of misconduct.