Senator Al Franken announced his resignation on Thursday, becoming the highest-ranking US politician yet to step down in the wake of widening allegations of sexual misconduct against powerful men in Hollywood, Silicon Valley, the media and politics.
Speaking on the Senate floor, Franken, who said he would quit in the coming weeks, said: “All women deserve to be heard and their experiences taken seriously.”
But he said that his response to the sexual misconduct allegations “gave some people the false impression that I was admitting doing things that I hadn’t done. Some of the allegations against me are simply not true. Others I remember differently.”
Serving in the US Senate was, he said “the great honor of my life”.
He went on: “I know in my heart that nothing I have done as a senator – nothing – has brought dishonor on this institution.”
Nevertheless, he said, “I am announcing that in the coming weeks I will be resigning as a member of the United States Senate.”
His decision followed a cascade of calls on Wednesday led by Senate Democratic women who urged Franken, one of their party’s most popular figures, to step down.
“Enough is enough,” Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York said in a lengthy Facebook post that started the wave. “As elected officials, we should be held to the highest standards – not the lowest.”
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