Franken’s Resignation Effort Part of a Larger Move Against Trump
Following weeks of accusations made against him, Sen. Al Franken has announced he is stepping down at the end of the year. If you look at his public statements, it appears to be part of a strategic effort to place even more pressure on President Trump to leave the White House, and try to claim moral high ground in the public debate about sexual misconduct among powerful men.
In his statement on the Senate floor, he neither took responsibility for his actions, nor admitted wrong doing, and even denied some of the charges against him outright. This is alright as it may be, perhaps some of the accusations are false, but in this atmosphere where the political stakes are high that hardly matters. What matters is what Franken’s resignation can produce politically. Franken made clear the political intent of his remarks by mentioning Trump’s sexual harassment accusers, along with his recorded boasts from twelve years ago that got ample play during the campaign, and suggested he too should resign because of accusations made against him. He also bought up the accusation against Roy Moore, who is looking to win election to the U.S. Senate in Alabama.
I am proud that during my time the Senate I have used my power to be a champion of women and that I have 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 a great honor of my life. I know in my heart that nothing I have done as a Senator, nothing, has brought this honor 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,” Franken added. “Even today, on the worst political day of my life, I feel like it’s all been worth it.
I of all people am aware that there is some irony that I am leaving while a man who has bragged on tape that 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. Over the last few weeks a number of women have come forward to talk about how they felt my actions 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 hadn’t done. Some of the allegations against me are simply not true, others I remember very differently.
Bernies Snadres tweeted out alter in the day about Trump’s accusers, and he too called for Trump’s resignation. Obviously that isn’t going to happen, but, even more importantly, should Moore win in Alabama, Franken’s statement left plenty of wiggle room for him to decide to stay, because him leaving would make that seat a vulnerable one for Democrats. However, he may decide to follow through and leave, as the Democrats seek to press whatever moral advantage they think they may have by using it as a vehicle to hammer away at Trump.
They are all out of options right now, as Trump continues to beat back everything they have thrown at him, and continues to pursue his agendas and has raised a record amount of money for the RNC this year, a clear sign that his support is not eroding at all. A scorched earth tactic, that sweeps up Democrats along the way, might be worth it in Democrat political calculations, if it can lead to getting rid of Trump. As with everything else though, this tactic will also fail.
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