Al Franken Reflects on Misconduct Allegations: "I Will Continue to Listen and Learn"
"I’ve also spent a lot of time over this past year thinking about the broader conversation we’ve been having about the experience of women in this country...I don’t think it’s my place to weigh in on all the debates," the former U.S. Senator wrote on his Facebook for Thanksgiving.
Al Franken wants everyone to know that he has taken a "year of reflection" and took to Facebook Thursday to address his sexual misconduct scandal that resulted in him resigning from the U.S. Senate last year.
After taking a moment to express how much he loves the Thanksgiving holiday, Franken admitted that last year’s holiday "wasn’t much fun" and marked "difficult" times for his family.
"Over the last year, I’ve heard from so many of you — kind notes, supportive comments here on Facebook, people coming up to me at the grocery store or the gas station or the Vikings game to say hi. And it’s meant a lot to me and my family. Representing Minnesota in the Senate was the greatest job I’ll ever have, and I miss it more than you know," he wrote in his Facebook post.
He then began to discuss the "experiences of women" existing in the country’s current #MeToo climate, something he was a part of after facing three weeks of sexual misconduct allegations during his tenure. The former comedian was accused of touching and kissing women without their consent. The alleged misconduct was shown in a photograph.
"I’ve also spent a lot of time over this past year thinking about the broader conversation we’ve been having about the experience of women in this country," he wrote. "I know that, for so many people, this issue raises a lot of powerful and painful feelings. This conversation can also be incredibly complicated. I don’t think it’s my place to weigh in on all the debates — but I will continue to listen and learn."
During his resignation speech, Franken said that some of the allegations against him were untrue.
"I know there’s been a very different picture of me painted over the last few weeks, but I know who I really am," Franken said, at the time, on the Senate floor. "Serving in the U.S. Senate has been the great honor of my life. I know in my heart that nothing I have done as a senator, nothing, has brought dishonor on this institution."
After his resignation, President Donald Trump mocked Franken, comparing him to a "wet rag."
"Boy, did he fold up like a wet rag, huh? Man, he was gone so fast. He was gone so fast, I don't want to mention Al Franken's name, okay, so I won't mention it," he said during a rally.
Added Trump, "It was like, 'I did something? Oh, I resign, I quit.' Wow, he was gone, and he was replaced by somebody nobody had ever heard of."
To conclude his holiday message, Franken did not shy away from admitting that there is still "so much more work left to do" in making a difference in the country.
"But we also have a whole lot to worry about when it comes to our country. For me, and for so many of you, politics has always been about the improvement of people’s lives, just like Paul Wellstone said. And there’s so much more work left to do."
He also revealed that he will not be "running for anything" in the future, but is still committed to making a difference somehow.
"I still miss being in the fight every day, and while I’m certainly not running for anything, I hope that, in the next year, I’ll have the chance to help make a difference again," he wrote.