WASHINGTON – More than a dozen Democratic senators on Wednesday asked their party colleague Al Franken to resign after learning of a sixth accusation against him for sexual abuse.
Franken’s office said he will make an “announcement” on Thursday.
New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand led the call for Franken’s resignation, saying that “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.”
She said that although Franken has the right to a hearing before the Senate Ethics Board, she believes that he should step aside anyway.
Joining Gillibrand’s call for Franken to step down were colleagues Mazie Hirono (of Hawaii); Claire McCaskill (Missouri); Patty Murray (Washington); Kamala Harris (California); Tammy Baldwin (Wisconsin); Debbie Stabenow (Michigan); and Maggie Hassan (New Hampshire).
Also joining the Democratic lawmakers was the head of the Democratic National Committee, Tom Perez.
Franken has apologized for his behavior, something that those calling for his resignation feel is not enough.
In her statement, Gillibrand said she considered Franken a “friend” and a person with whom she has enjoyed working, but at this time she said it is necessary to evaluate the behavior of her colleagues.
She said that the situation goes beyond any particular industry, sector, party or person.
The demands for Franken’s resignation come in a week marked by the announcement by the longest-serving African American in Congress, Democrat John Conyers of Michigan that he is retiring after party colleagues asked him to step down following multiple accusations of sexual harassment.
The accusations of sexual abuse and harassment have come in a variety of sectors, including the media, politics and the film industry.