Franken’s Senate Replacement Won’t Say If He Should Have Resigned, Says She Respects Feelings on Both Sides

On Monday’s edition of CNN’s “New Day,” Senator Tina Smith (D-MN), who was appointed to replace Senator Al Franken (D-MN), refused to state whether she thinks Franken should have resigned and said that she respects the feelings on both sides of the debate over Franken’s resignation.

Co-host Alisyn Camerota asked Smith, “[D]o you think that he should have resigned?”

Smith responded, “I know from having spoken to Al many times –, first of all, I want to say that Al was a really strong Senator for Minnesota. He advocated so well for us. And I also know that the decision that he made to resign was the decision that he felt the best thing for Minnesota, and I respect the decision that he made. And now, it’s up to me to move forward, and that’s what I’m going to do.”

Camerota then followed up, “I don’t have to tell you, a lot of his Democratic colleagues felt that it was too hasty, and that he should have stayed, he should have waited out an ethics commission, and there are repercussions of his resignation. I mean, not just, obviously, you sitting there, but just this weekend, one prominent Democratic donor, Susie Tompkins Buell, said she’s considering withdrawing financial support from any Democrats who encouraged Al Franken to resign. So, what do you think?”

Smith answered, “There are a lot of feelings about this, no doubt. And what I’ve noticed is that there are a lot of feelings on both sides, and I really respect that. But I think that the question now is how do we move forward? And I am 100% sure that Al made the decision that he thought was best. And I think it’s also really interesting that this question of how women ought to be treated in their workplaces, what kind of respect they ought to get, whether they work in a corporate boardroom, or whether they are — they work in a hotel cleaning rooms, this is I think what was so strong about what Oprah Winfrey said last night, that this issue is really galvanizing people. And I believe we’re at a tipping point in this country, and that that is a really good thing. And it’s being driven, I think, by young women, who are saying, ‘We shouldn’t have to put up with this anymore.'”

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett

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