Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) was accused Thursday of kissing and groping sports anchor Leeann Tweeden during a USO tour, fueling recent attention to sexual harassment on Capitol Hill.
Tweeden came forward Thursday, publishing her account of how Franken repeatedly tried to rehearse a kiss with her, and when he did, he stuck his tongue into her mouth without asking. He later took a picture in a military aircraft grinning with his hands over her breasts as she slept.
Franken said in a statement Thursday that he didn’t remember the rehearsal kiss “in the same way,” sent his “sincerest apologies” to Tweeden and said the photo was “clearly intended to be funny but wasn’t.”
When asked about Trump’s hot mic comments on an Access Hollywood tape in 2005 that resurfaced during the 2016 election, Franken seemed to hold his fire, not calling for Trump to step down as even other Republican candidates did.
“I’ve been in a lot of locker rooms. I belong to a health club in Minneapolis – you can tell,” Franken said on NBC’s Late Night. “Our locker room banter is stuff like, ‘Is Trump crazy?’”
“So I don’t know what locker room – he may work out with Roger Ailes,” he joked.
The allegations against Franken come as he and other Republican senators have called for Judge Roy Moore to drop out of the Alabama Senate race, for allegations against him from four decades ago, and are threatening him with an ethics probe if he wins.
Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is now calling for an ethics probe on Franken, though not yet for him to step down.