On Tuesday, the longest tenured Democrat in the House of Representatives, John Conyers, resigned amidst sexual assault allegations that derailed his career. Meanwhile, the other high-profile Democrat in Congress accused of sexual assault – Senator Al Franken, of Minnesota – remained defiant and determined to get back to work.
However, on Wednesday, another woman accused Franken of assaulting her. Especially after Conyers’ precedent, the calls for Franken to resign grew exponentially.
The accuser was a Congressional aide who spoke on a radio show with Al Franken in 2006. That was three years before he became a member of Congress himself.
“He was between me and the door and he was coming at me to kiss me. It was very quick and I think my brain had to work really hard to be like ‘Wait, what is happening?’ But I knew whatever was happening was not right and I ducked,” she said. “I was really startled by it and I just sort of booked it towards the door and he said, ‘It’s my right as an entertainer.’”
“This allegation is categorically not true and the idea that I would claim this as my right as an entertainer is preposterous. I look forward to fully cooperating with the ongoing ethics committee investigation,” Franken responded.
He said he was “ashamed” about the previous incident, in which he took a joke too far, adding that he “never intentionally engaged in that kind of conduct.” However, he implied that this second accusation is a political attack trying to force his resignation.
The anonymous accuser rejected Franken’s response that he remembered the events differently. “I don’t want to be in the position of deciding whether to tell this story but I’m not the person who put me in that position. He did that,” she said. “I think for this moment in time to lead to meaningful change there has to be more than ‘I’m ashamed but I remember things differently’ accounting.”