Have Senate Democrats pulled the old bait-and-switch?
Even in the face of scandal, some of Sen. Al Franken’s (D-MN) colleagues on Capitol Hill are urging him to stay.
Franken vowed to step down from the Senate amid sexual harassment allegations and pressure from his own party.
Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton named his lieutenant governor, Tina Smith, as Franken’s successor the day after Alabama Republican Roy Moore lost his Senate bid due, in part, to his own set of sexual accusations.
Although Franken already publicly stated he will resign, he has not set a date for his departure.
In light of that, four Senators expressed their desire that the Minnesota lawmaker reconsider his decision to leave.
One of the leading voices is Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), who argued Democrats made a “mistake” by calling for Franken’s resignation.
“What they did to Al was atrocious, the Democrats,” Manchin told Politico. I hope they have enough guts … and enough conscience and enough heart to say, ‘Al, we made a mistake asking prematurely for you to leave.’”
Another Senator, who spoke anonymously, said “I think we acted prematurely, before we had all the facts.”
Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) originally pressed Franken to step down, but has now changed his mind.
Even one Republican, Sen. James Lankford of Oklahoma, argued Franken should not step aside so hastily. Although Lankford did not say Franken should not resign, he said the Democrat should have waited for the results of the Senate ethics committee probe.
Manchin likewise called on his fellow Senators to allow the ethics investigation to conclude before expecting Franken to quit.
“If they have any decency in them, they’d do that … Every one of them that signed for him to go out — including Chuck Schumer — should do that,” he stated.
In his resignation speech, Franken said the allegations against him are not accurate.
“I also think it gave some people the false impression that I was admitting to doing things that, in fact, I haven’t done,” the Senator said. “Some of the allegations against me are simply not true, others I remember very differently.”
Franken pledged to remain involved in progressive causes.
Meanwhile, Democrats have repeatedly rebuked President Trump and even called for his resignation over several sexual assault accusations that arose in the final weeks of the 2016 presidential election.