Al Franken Put on Blast After Sexual Assault Accusation

Trinity Cortes, Contributor

Democratic senator, Al Franken, was put on blast after allegations of sexually harassing a woman in 2006.

His accuser, Leeann Tweeden, said in an account posted to the 790 KABC, that Franken forcibly kissed and groped her while she was asleep during a USO tour overseas. Tweeden said that the incident happened before a skit, after Franken suggested that they rehearse a kissing scene. According to CNN, Tweeden described the moment by saying, “Franken ‘puts his hand on the back of my neck and comes in so fast. There was not finesse to it at all — let’s put it that way. And he just mashes his mouth to my lips. It was wet and he puts his tongue in my mouth and I push his chest away with my hands,’”.  She stated that the kiss was “persistent” and “uncomfortable”, and left her “so angry [she] was in disbelief” according to CNN. The moment the accusation went public, Franken stopped attending Democrats’ weekly lunch and seemed to disappear entirely.

President Donald Trump soon became involved after commenting on the photo of Franken grabbing Tweeden’s breasts while she was asleep. According to CNN, Trump replied to the photo by saying, “The Al Frankenstein picture is really bad, speaks a thousand words. Where do his hands go in pictures 2,3,4,5 & 6 while she sleeps?”

Al Franken himself responded to the accusation with an apology by saying, according to CNN, “I certainly don’t remember the rehearsal for the skit in the same way, but I send my sincerest apologies to Leeann. As to the photo, it was clearly intended to be funny but wasn’t. I shouldn’t have done it”.

He added, “The first thing I want to do is apologize: to Leeann, to everyone else who was part of that tour, to everyone who has worked for me, to everyone I represent, and to everyone who counts on me to be an ally and supporter and champion of women. There’s more I want to say, but the first and most important thing—and if it’s the only thing you care to hear, that’s fine—is: I’m sorry”. Franken went into an in-depth apology, in which he stated how ashamed he was of his actions. He not only apologized to Leanne, but also apologized to any women who were hurt or offended by his actions.

Top Democrats in Washington are said to agree with Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, who has called for an ethics investigation. Minority Leader, Chuck Schumer, commented on the accusation, tweeting: “Sexual harassment is never acceptable and must not be tolerated. I hope and expect that the Ethics Committee will fully investigate this troubling incident, as they should with any credible allegation of sexual harassment”.

According to CNN, Franken stated in response to requests for an investigation, saying, “I am asking that an ethics investigation be undertaken, and I will gladly cooperate”.

Although no one has yet asked Franken to step down from his position, Tweeden replied to the possibility, saying: “That’s not why I came out with my story. I’m not asking for him to step down for senator. if someone else calls for that, but that’s not what I’m asking”.