WASHINGTON – Democratic Sen. Al Franken once again issued an apology for his inappropriate conduct with women in the past and, before resuming his duties in Congress after the brief Thanksgiving Day recess, he said he regretted letting people down.
“I just want to say a few words before I get back to work,” Franken said, speaking to dozens of reporters gathered outside his Senate office.
“To all of you, I just want to again say that I’m sorry. I know there are no magic words I can say to regain your trust and I know that’s going to take time. I’m ready to start that process, and that starts with going back to work today,” he said.
In a Thanksgiving Day statement, Franken had said: “I feel terribly that I’ve made some women feel badly and for that I am so sorry, and I want to make sure that never happens again.”
“And let me say again to Minnesotans that I’m sorry for putting them through this and I’m committed to regaining their trust,” he added, although he did not say whether or not he intended to remain in office amid the allegations that he groped one woman on a USO tour before he was elected to Congress and another at a photo op after becoming a senator.
The controversy erupted on Nov. 16 when radio host and model Leeann Tweeden accused him of posing for a photo pretending to grope her breasts when she was sleeping during a 2006 Middle East USO tour, and also kissing her forcefully without her consent.
Four days later, a second woman, Lindsay Menz, accused him of grabbing her buttocks as they were posing for a photo at a Minnesota state fair in 2010.
The lawmaker did not delay in reacting to these accusations and in both cases profusely apologized, although he said he had never intended to make Tweeden feel uncomfortable and did not even remember taking the photo with Menz.