New York Times op-ed columnist Michelle Goldberg writes that Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) should resign his Senate seat after journalist Leeann Tweeden accused the senator Thursday of groping her and kissing her without her consent during an alleged incident in 2006.
From the New York Times:
Oh no, not Al Franken, too.
Before Thursday, I’d hoped Franken would run for president in 2020. A hugely gifted communicator with entertainment chops, he seemed well suited to take on Donald Trump, assuming the demagogic showman seeks re-election. A decade ago, when Franken first considered running for Senate, I spent a few days trailing him around Minnesota and found him serious, earnest and decent. As a lawmaker he’s been — in what now seems an awful irony — great on issues of sexual assault. He was behind one measure that made it easier for people who are sexually victimized while working for defense contractors to find justice and another ensuring that survivors don’t have to pay for their own rape kits. He hired feminist women, including Stephanie Schriock, who managed his 2008 campaign and is now president of Emily’s List.
So my first instinct is to say that Franken deserves a chance to go through an ethics investigation but remain in the Senate, where he should redouble his efforts on behalf of abuse and harassment victims. But if that happens, the current movement toward unprecedented accountability for sexual harassers will probably start to peter out. Republicans, never particularly eager to hold their own to account, will use Franken to deflect from more egregious abuse on their own side, like what Trump and Roy Moore are accused of. Women with stories about other members of Congress might hesitate to come forward. That horrifying photo of Franken will confront feminists every time they decry Trump’s boasts of grabbing women by the genitals. Democrats will have to worry about whether more damaging information will come out, and given the way scandals like this tend to unfold, it probably will.
It’s not worth it. The question isn’t about what’s fair to Franken, but what’s fair to the rest of us. I would mourn Franken’s departure from the Senate, but I think he should go, and the governor should appoint a woman to fill his seat. The message to men in power about sexual degradation has to be clear: We will replace you.
Read the full story at the New York Times.