Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) condemned her colleague Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) after a woman alleged that the Minnesota senator groped and kissed her without her permission.
“The behavior reported today is unacceptable and deeply disappointing,” Warren said in a statement, quickly joining her other Senate colleagues in denouncing Franken’s alleged conduct.
Warren’s Republican challenger for U.S. Senate, Geoff Diehl, called for Warren to denounce Franken’s alleged conduct after Franken admitted to sexually harassing the woman.
After the Massachusetts senator released her statement condemning Franken, Diehl suggested that Warren has not gone far enough in denouncing the Minnesota senator because she has not removed videos of herself with Franken from her Facebook page.
“Warren has made numerous videos with Senator Franken on a variety of issues. She knows him well. I am asking her to address the issue,” said Diehl, who also serves as a Massachusetts state senator, in a statement. “Will she continue to make videos with him? More importantly, does she believe Franken should be able to serve in the Senate or not? Should he resign?”
Warren’s remarks come after Los Angeles-based journalist Leeann Tweeden accused Franken of fondling her breasts while she was sleeping and aggressively shoving his tongue down her throat. The two had apparently been on a USO tour overseas in 2006 when the alleged incident took place.
The December 2006 photo showing Franken grabbing the woman’s breasts surfaced, fueling the allegations against him.
Franken verified that the photo was accurate after it surfaced and apologized for taking the picture with her. In an updated statement, he apologized to Tweeden and everyone he has ever worked with or represented.
“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,” Franken said.
Tweeden responded by accepting Franken’s apology.
Franken took things a step further and called for a Senate ethics investigation into his behavior after several senators asked for an investigation into Franken’s conduct.
Warren acknowledged Franken’s apology and used her statement as an opportunity to praise the “brave” women who speak up about sexual harassment.
“I am glad Senator Franken has acknowledged as much and has agreed to cooperate with an ethics investigation. Women who come forward are brave and deserve to be respected,” Warren said.