Female Democratic senators, DNC chair call on Al Franken to resign
WASHINGTON (AP) — Female senators and the Democratic National Committee Chair, Tom Perez, are calling on fellow Democratic Sen. Al Franken to resign.
Perez said that Franken should step down, and that "everyone must share the responsibility of building a culture of trust and respect for women."
In Facebook posts and Tweets, the women said the two-term senator should step aside after a fresh allegation that he forcibly tried to kiss a woman in 2006.
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand wrote on Facebook that while Franken is entitled to have the Ethics Committee conclude its review, "I believe it would be better for our country if he sent a clear message that any kind of mistreatment of women in our society isn't acceptable by stepping aside to let someone else serve."
Sens. Mazie Hirono of Hawaii, Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire, Patty Murray of Washington state and Claire McCaskill of Missouri joined Gillibrand in pressing for Franken to quit.
The senator is facing other allegations that he groped women.
Sen. Al Franken on Wednesday denied a new sexual misconduct accusation that came from a former Democratic congressional aide that he tried to forcibly kiss her after a taping of his radio show in 2006.
The Minnesota Democrat said in a statement that the allegation, reported by Politico, was "categorically not true."
The woman, who was not identified by name, said Franken pursued her after her boss had left and she was collecting her belongings. She said she ducked to avoid his lips, and that Franken told her: "It's my right as an entertainer."
Franken, in his statement, said the idea he would claim such conduct as a right as an entertainer was "preposterous."
The senator is facing a Senate Ethics Committee investigation into previous claims by several other women that he groped them or sought to forcibly kiss them.
"This allegation is categorically not true and the idea that I would claim this as my right as an entertainer is preposterous," Franken said. "I look forward to fully cooperating with the ongoing ethics committee investigation."
The allegations against Franken began in mid-November when Los Angeles radio anchor Leeann Tweeden accused him of forcibly kissing her during a 2006 USO tour.
Several other allegations have followed, including a woman who says that Franken put his hand on her buttocks during a picture pose at the Minnesota State Fair in 2010. Two women, who asked to remain anonymous, have told the Huffington Post that Franken squeezed their buttocks at political events during his first campaign for the Senate in 2008. A fourth woman, an Army veteran, alleged Franken cupped her breast during a photo op on a USO tour in 2003.
Franken has apologized for his behavior but he has disputed some of the allegations.