Franken Resigns Over Allegations, Rips Trump And Moore For Not Doing The Same In Epic Speech

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Al Franken of Minnesota has announced his pending resignation from the US Senate in the wake of allegations that he groped and forcefully kissed women before his election.

Franken addressed the charges leveled against him while remaining supportive of the #MeToo movement. He also contrasted his resignation with the continuing presidency of confessed “pussy grabber” Donald Trump and the campaign of alleged pedophile Roy Moore of Alabama.

Partial transcript:

A couple months ago, I felt that we had entered an important moment in the history of this country. We were finally beginning to listen to women about the ways in which men’s actions affect them. The moment was long overdue.

I was excited for that conversation and hopeful that it would result in real change that made life better for women all across the country and in every part of our society. Then the conversation turned to me. Over the last few weeks a number of women have come forward to talk about how they felt my actions had affected them.

I was shocked. I was upset. But in responding to their claims, I also wanted to be respectful of that broader conversation because all women deserve to be heard and their experiences taken seriously. I think that was the right thing to do. I also think it gave some people the false impression that I was admitting to doing things that, in fact, I haven’t done. Some of the allegations against me are simply not true. Others, I remember very differently.

I said at the outset that the ethics committee was the right venue for these allegations to be heard and investigated and evaluated on their merits, that I was prepared to cooperate fully and that I was confident in the outcome.

You know, an important part of the conversation we’ve been having the last few months has been about how men abuse their power and privilege to hurt women. I am proud that during my time in the Senate I have used my power to be a champion of women, and that I’ve earned a reputation as someone who respects the women I work alongside every day. I know there’s been a very different picture of me painted over the last few weeks, but I know who I really am.

Serving in the United States Senate has been the great honor of my life. I know in my heart that nothing I have done as a senator — nothing — has brought dishonor on this institution. And I am confident that the ethics committee would agree. Nevertheless, today I am announcing that in the coming weeks I will be resigning as a member of the United States Senate.

I, of all people, am aware that there is some irony in the fact that I am leaving while a man who has bragged on tape about his history of sexual assault sits in the Oval Office, and a man who has repeatedly preyed on young girls campaigns for the Senate with the full support of his party.

But this decision is not about me. It’s about the people of Minnesota. And it’s become clear that I can’t both pursue the ethics committee process and at the same time remain an effective senator for them. Let me be clear: I may be resigning my seat, but I am not giving up my voice. I will continue to stand up for the things I believe in as a citizen and as an activist. But minnesotans deserve a senator who can focus all her energy on addressing the challenges they face every day.

There is a big part of me that will always regret having to walk away from this job with so much work left to be done. But I have faith that the work will be done because I have faith in the people who helped me do it. I have faith in the dedicated, selfless, funny, brilliant  young men and women on my staff. They have so much more to contribute to our country. And I hope that, as disappointed as they may feel today, everyone who has worked for me knows how much I admire and respect them. I have faith in my colleagues, especially my senior senator, Amy Klobuchar. I would not have been able to do this job without her guidance and wisdom. And I have faith, or at least hope, that members of this Senate will find the political courage necessary to keep asking the tough questions, hold this administration accountable, and stand up for the truth. I have faith in the activists who helped me to organize my first campaign and have kept on organizing to fight for the people who needed  us: kids facing bullying, seniors worried about the price of prescription drugs, Native Americans who have been overlooked for far too long. Working people who have been taking on the chin for a generation, everyone in the middle class and everyone aspiring to join it. I have great faith in the legacy of progressive advocacy that I have had the great privilege to be a part of.

I think I’ve probably repeated these words 10,000 times over the years: Paul Wellstone’s famous quote, “The future belongs to the passionate and those who work hard.” It’s still true. It will always be true.

Franken quoted Wellstone two more times as he praised the people of Minnesota and declared his intention to remain engaged in the public policy arena. Despite his sadness at being forced to step aside, Franken insisted that his time as a senator has been worthwhile.

Here is the video of Franken’s resignation speech.

Watch:

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