Former Sen. Al Franken (D-MN), on Wednesday during an interview with Washington Post Live, said “it would be tempting” to run for office again after he resigned from the Senate in December 2017 amid accusations of sexual misconduct.
Partial transcript as follows:
CAPEHART: Right. So Al, I have to ask you about, you know, what led to you leaving the Senate. And it’s been four years since you resigned. In 2019, seven current and former senators told The New Yorker that they regretted forcing you out of office. You have also said that you regret resigning. Why?
FRANKEN: Well, I think those seven–now there are nine of them–I have had two since publicly apologize, which is unusual, you know, to get nine senators publicly apologizing for something. They didn’t give me–they made it impossible for me to get due process. And I think if you read in the New Yorker–I don’t know, did you read the New Yorker article?
CAPEHART: I did not read The New Yorker article.
FRANKEN: Okay. Well, I would hope people would who are interested in this, because it puts a lot of perspective on it. No one investigated this. No one at The Washington Post investigated it. No one at The New York Times investigated. No one did any investigation of this at all. And I had 36 of my colleagues demand that I leave, and I didn’t get due process, and it was a pretty awful experience for me and my family. And Jane Mayer, whom you know, right–
FRANKEN: –one of the great investigative reporters in our country, actually did an investigation. And one of the people who apologized since was Dick Durbin, and he apologized as soon as he read the article. And people who are interested in this, like yourself, really should read that.
CAPEHART: Okay. I will do that. Of course, we are talking about your resignation over allegations of sexual harassment. I want to read something that feminist author Laura Kipnis said about the 2017 #MeToo fallout that, quote, “There was failed distinction making and political expediency and the impossibility of sorting motives from facts. That’s what’s starting to get unraveled now.” I’d love your thoughts about how you are unraveling the #MeToo movement, and how this shaped your life the last four years.
FRANKEN: I don’t want to spend a lot of time on this, because it’s very complicated. But let’s say that that’s pretty accurate, and that I–you know, this is very, very difficult for me and for my family, and, you know, I do appreciate the nine who have come to me and apologized. Those are public. I’ve had others apologize to me and won’t go public. And they–I think a lot of people come up to me all the time and say, “That was ridiculous,” and, you know, I don’t want to discuss it here, right now. How’s that?
CAPEHART: That’s fine. That’s fine. All I do is ask questions. You can answer them or not answer them.Now, of course, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand was the one who led that effort to get you to leave the Senate. You recently said that you would not run for Gillibrand’s seat in the Senate. But this leads to a Twitter question that came in, that asks, “Are you going to run again?” Do you have it in your bones or in your blood to jump back into the political arena and run for elective office again?
FRANKEN: I don’t know. I certainly loved my time in the Senate. I loved the job. I got a lot done. I was able to accomplish things I couldn’t accomplish anywhere else, I don’t think. So yeah, it would be tempting to try to do that again.
Follow Pam Key on Twitter @pamkeyNEN