It started with six female senators, but by mid-afternoon Wednesday, many Democratic leaders had joined together to call for Sen. Al Franken’s resignation.
Franken, D-Minn., faces a Senate Ethics Committee investigation after multiple women alleged that he groped them or sought to forcibly kiss them. The allegations started after Los Angeles radio anchor Leeann Tweeden accused him of forcibly kissing her during a 2006 USO tour.
Franken’s office said he will make an announcement on Thursday. He has already apologized for his behavior but disputed some allegations.
Here’s what key Democrats have said about Franken, 66, in their calls for his resignation.
In a simple tweet, Sen. Tammy Baldwin, Wis., said it was “best” for Franken to resign.
Sen. Michael Bennett, D-Colo., said he expects Franken to “make an announcement” on Thursday and is “confident he’ll do the right thing and step aside.”
“Sexual harassment and misconduct are never acceptable,” Bennett said.
Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, acknowledged that there is “a serious problem in this country with sexual harassment and assault – in Congress, in Hollywood, in business, in the military – everywhere” in a statement. He also praised those who “had the bravery to come forward.”
“I have listened to them. I have listened to my female colleagues, to women I work with and women in my life. And I agree the time has come for Senator Franken to step aside,” Brown said.
He encouraged the Ethics committee to continue with its investigation as well.
Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., said Franken’s alleged actions are “disturbing, egregious and demonstrate a pattern of serious misconduct and abuse.”
“It is time for Senator Franken to resign from office,” she said.
The first male senator to join the calls for Franken’s resignation, Sen. Bob Casey of Pennsylvania said on Twitter that he agreed with his colleagues on the matter.
“We can’t just believe women when it’s convenient,” Casey said.
Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., called for Franken’s resignation in a statement which he posted online.
“I believe there is more work to be done to protect victims of sexual harassment and to reform the system of filing and settling harassment claims in Congress,” Donnelly said, adding that he would like to ensure taxpayers are not footing the bill for settlements made by members of Congress.
Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., called for Franken to resign as she is “deeply disturbed” by the allegations against him.
“To all those across America who have come forward to share their stories over the past few months: thank you. Your courage and strength in driving this long-overdue national conversation is awe-inspiring,” Duckworth said in a statement.
“This isn’t about Democrats or Republicans, it’s about our society. It’s about how we are as a people and the kind of country we want our daughters – and our sons – to grow up in.”
“As national leaders, we must hold ourselves to a higher standard – and we must lead by example to ensure every person is treated with the dignity and respect they deserve,” she continued. “This isn’t about Democrats or Republicans, it’s about our society. It’s about how we are as a people and the kind of country we want our daughters – and our sons – to grow up in.”