What Is Al Franken Doing Now?
Sexual Allegations Made By 'More Than A Half-Dozen Women'
Former U.S. Senator from Minnesota Al Franken resigned, on January 2, 2018, after "more than a half-dozen women" alleged that he had "touched or kissed them without permission." The Democrat "initially tried to weather the ensuing controversy, but decided to step down after several dozen of his fellow Democratic senators demanded he do so before an ethics investigation played out," as reported by the Star Tribune.
The former Saturday Night Live star and radio personality claimed a long record of political activism before he took his Senate seat, in 2008. As a comedian, Franken became known for unashamedly tackling political issues of the day.
"In a way, Franken has been running for office since the late '70s," Richard Corliss, with Time, wrote just prior to the 66-year-old's 2008 Senate run.
Since his resignation, Al Franken has kept a low profile. On January 5, the Star Tribune reported that he had "declined interview requests, hasn’t shared any details, and an aide said he’s focused on his family for now."
Many observers have questioned what appears to be a double standard being applied to former Senator Franken and President Donald Trump, who, according to The Independent, is the subject of sexual misconduct allegations made by 20 women.
'The View': Senator Gillibrand on Al Franken, Steve Wynn, and Donald Trump
Was Al Franken Treated Unfairly?
U.S. Senator from New York Kirsten Gillibrand, who has been named by Business Insider as a 2020 Democratic presidential contender based partly on her leadership to her "party's response to the reckoning over sexual harassment," appeared on The View, on January 29, 2018, where she spoke about Al Franken.
With regard to recent accusations of sexual harassment on the part of former RNC Finance Chairman Steve Wynn, Senator Gillibrand stated "I don't think these issues should be political" and described the silence on behalf of Republicans as "deafening."
Joy Behar, with The View, stated that she thought Al Franken's treatment after accusations were made against him was "unfair," considering that "the president of the United States has so many allegations of sexual harassment against him, and I don't see him going anywhere."
In the weeks leading up to his November 2016 election win, Donald Trump apologized about statements he made on, and seemingly confirmed the veracity of, an audio recording made of a conversation with Access Hollywood host Billy Bush. In the recording, Trump can be heard bragging about how, as a "star," women will let him do anything, such as grabbing them "by the p****."
More than a year later, Trump was reported by CNN to have voiced "doubts about the veracity of the recording."
"Al Franken admited it," Joy Behar noted, "and he got booted out."
Senator Gillibrand held up Donald Trump's "multiple allegations" of "sexual assault and sexual harassment."
Trump Said to Raise Doubts of Veracity of 'Access Hollywood' Tape
"He should resign," Gillibrand stated. "He should be held accountable. I've not heard that from any Republicans."
She continued, saying that "Congress should be holding hearings."
"Where are the hearings?" Kirsten Gillibrand asked.
"What do you make of this? The Republicans' silence on these subjects?" Joy Behar asked.
"It shouldn't be a partisan issue," Kirsten Gillibrand said. "We should be having a very different conversation about President Trump and we should be holding him accountable."
She noted that the president has attempted to "dismiss" and "demean" his accusers.
"Why'd you push Franken out?" Behar asked Gillibrand.
"Al Franken is a friend of mine," Kirsten Gillibrand responded. "He did great work in the Judiciary Committee. So it was really hard and really heartbreaking."
"Obviously, what was alleged against Al Franken is very different than what's alleged about Steve Wynn, than what's alleged about President Trump, very different. I understand," the senator explained her position.
Behar stated that those who went after Franken were creating an "unequal equivalency" between his actions and that of Trump, Wynn and other accused men.
"No you're not," Kirsten Gillibrand was direct. "because it's not OK, Joy."
"Why would you want to hold our elected leaders to the lowest standard and not the highest standard?" the senator asked. "We should be holding all our elected leaders to the higher standard. And, I can't be a good mother, and I can't be a good senator, if I am silent just because it's my friend."
Should President Trump resign, as Al Franken did, over sexual misconduct accusations?
Questions & Answers
Why didn’t the public demand that President Trump step down with the same forcefulness that they did with former Senator Franken?
Many voters and politicians have demanded that President Trump step down. However, the decision is ultimately his. Some may see former Senator Franken's decision to step down as representative of a true sense of regret, and President Trump's failure to as representative of a lack of one.
© 2018 Stephen Sinclair