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On This Issue, Buttigieg Breaks With the Crowd

Democratic presidential candidate says he wouldn't have pressured Al Franken to resign
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 4, 2019 7:41 AM CDT
In this Dec. 28, 2017, file photo, outgoing Sen. Al Franken speaks about his accomplishments and thanks his team in Minneapolis, as his eight years in the Senate are set to come to an end.   (Glen Stubbe/Star Tribune via AP, File)
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(Newser) – Pete Buttigieg is diverging from other Democratic presidential candidates who demanded former Sen. Al Franken's resignation over sexual misconduct allegations, saying he wouldn't have "applied that pressure." "It was his decision to make" and "I think the way that we basically held him to a higher standard than the GOP does their people has been used against us," the mayor of South Bend, Ind., said Monday during an MSNBC town hall, per Politico. "It's not a bad thing that we hold ourselves to a higher standard," the 37-year-old added. But he said he "would not have applied that pressure at that time, before we knew more." Per the Daily Beast, Buttigieg has fundraised with major Democratic donor Susie Tompkins Buell, who once suggested anyone who supported Franken's ouster would be without her support.

Tompkins Buell specifically faulted New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, who was first to demand Franken's resignation in December 2017 after eight women accused him of misconduct. "Eight credible allegations of sexual harassment, two since he was elected senator, and one from a congressional staffer … is not too high a standard, regardless of how the Republican party handles this behavior, and worse," Gillibrand said in a Monday statement, per the Hill, adding it was necessary to "raise our voice and make clear we value women." Tompkins Buell has since pivoted, choosing to back California Sen. Kamala Harris, who echoed calls for Franken's resignation, as did Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren. Two years after throwing in the towel, Franken has just launched a podcast, per the Washington Post. (Read more Pete Buttigieg stories.)

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