At least four senators want Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) to rethink his resignation from Congress, including two senators who issued statements calling for Franken to step down two weeks ago, according to a report.
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), one of the senators who did not call for Franken to resign from Congress until he went through an Ethics Committee investigation, said what the Democrats did to Franken was “atrocious” and “hypocritical.”
“What they did to Al was atrocious, the Democrats,” Manchin told Politico. “The most hypocritical thing I’ve ever seen done to a human being — and then have enough guts to sit on the floor, watch him give his speech and go over and hug him? That’s hypocrisy at the highest level I’ve ever seen in my life. Made me sick.”
Other senators privately said that they think calling for Franken’s resignation was premature.
Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), who publicly called for the Minnesota Democrat to step down, told Franken privately that he regrets his statement.
A third senator, who declined to be identified because of how politically sensitive the issue is among Democrats, also regretted calling for Franken’s ouster.
“I think we acted prematurely, before we had all the facts,” said a third senator who has also called for the resignation, and has since expressed regret directly to Franken. “In retrospect, I think we acted too fast.”
Two of the senators who called for Franken to step aside told Politico that they felt rushed to comment on the issue as other meetings and hearings distracted them from giving their full attention to the situation while more Democrats piled on Franken.
Franken, along with several other senators, called for an ethics investigation into his behavior as allegations of sexual misconduct surfaced.
The first allegation of sexual misconduct emerged after veteran radio journalist Leeann Tweeden accused Franken of groping her breasts while she slept and shoving his tongue down her throat without permission in 2006.
At least two other accusers who came forward accused the Minnesota Democrat of groping them while posing for photos when he was in office.
Democrats stopped calling for the ethics investigation and immediately called for his resignation after the eighth accuser came forward. Franken obliged and announced that he would resign “in the coming weeks.”
It appears that despite some Democrats calling for Franken to reconsider his resignation, the Minnesota senator has not changed his mind about resigning from his position.
Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton announced that Lt. Gov. Tina Smith would be appointed to Franken’s seat, and Franken said he was working with Smith on the transition.