Franken Sends Accuser a Handwritten Apology

Meanwhile, calls mount for him to resign
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 17, 2017 8:39 AM CST
Updated Nov 17, 2017 12:24 PM CST

(Newser) – If Al Franken wanted advice on what his next steps should be in his sexual harassment scandal, there's no shortage of it. Some in his own party say he should immediately step down or risk harming the anti-harassment movement, though one self-identified feminist floats a different option: Remain in the Senate as a supporter of women's rights, but forego any thought of a re-election run. Meanwhile, accuser Leeann Tweeden shared a handwritten note of apology from Franken, in which he again says he remembers a rehearsal differently (she has accused him of a forcible kiss) but has "no excuse" for the now-infamous groping photo, per ABC News. He adds that he is "ashamed" he ruined her USO experience. "I am so sorry." Details and developments:

  • He must go: In a New York Times op-ed, Michelle Goldberg writes that until this week, she wanted Franken to run for president. Now she thinks he should immediately resign. Her initial instinct was that he should stick it out through an ethics investigation. "But if that happens, the current movement toward unprecedented accountability for sexual harassers will probably start to peter out." If he stays, that damning photo will be used again and again whenever new allegations are raised against others. "The question isn't about what's fair to Franken, but what's fair to the rest of us."
  • He should stay: Kate Harding is a feminist who has written a book on rape culture, and she writes in the Washington Post that Franken should stay in the Senate. His resignation might be temporarily satisfying to supporters of women's rights, but she writes that, for the greater good, it makes little sense to remove a lawmaker who consistently supports women's issues. She'd like him to remain, announce that he won't run for re-election, go on a listening tour of women's issues, then back a progressive woman to replace him. "One more head on a pike (will) not make American women safer or better off."

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