Leeann Tweeden Responds to Al Franken Apology, Political Backlash
The TV and radio host, who accused Sen. Franken of sexual harassment on Thursday, says she isn't calling for his resignation.
Leeann Tweeden has now received three apologies from Sen. Al Franken, two public and one private.
On Thursday, the morning news anchor went public about a 2006 incident with the Minnesota senator, who was then a Saturday Night Live star and comedian, where Franken allegedly sexually harassed her, kissing and groping her without her consent during a USO tour. The anchor provided a now widely seen photo of Franken touching her inappropriately while she was sleeping as evidence.
Shortly after she posted a first-person account on her station KABC's website, Franken released a short statement and apology through his press office. He followed that up with a much lengthier apology, one that also welcomed an ethics investigation into himself.
When speaking on The View on Friday, the mother of two said she also received a third private apology from Franken while she was backstage preparing for her appearance.
"He apologized twice. The first one I thought was a little — when I talked about it at home on my radio show, McIntyre in the Morning, I thought the first one was really quick and it sounded like a staffer," she explained. "But I was like, 'Ok. They responded to it.' They got a lot of pushback. It was like, 'That's all you have to say, Mr. Franken?'"
Still, Tweeden says she accepted that first apology.
Since her claim broke, Franken has met critics from both sides of the political spectrum, including President Donald Trump — who commented on Democrat "Al Frankenstien (sic)" but has remained silent on the accusations surrounding Republican Senate nominee Roy Moore. The first member of Congress to be caught up in the sweeping wave of misconduct allegations, Franken will likely face an ethics committee, though many are split on calls for him to resign. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and top Democrat Chuck Schumer also called for an ethics inquiry.
"I wasn't calling for his resignation. I wasn't calling for his career to end. I didn't want any of that. I just wanted to shine the light, to stand on the shoulders of these other women to go, 'This is not right. This is not what should be happening in our society,'" she said, adding that she welcomes the opportunity to speak with him face-to-face.
During her appearance, she read aloud the third note, which was hand-written, that reiterated his apology (video below).
After hearing the personal apology, co-host Whoopi Goldberg wanted to know if Tweeden felt that, amid calls for his resignation, people should accept his apology like she has.
"I think the people of Minnesota can make that decision. I'm not calling for him to step down," she said again. "I think he's done some great work. This is not about donkeys and elephants. This is about right and wrong. ... This is about forcibly pushing yourself on someone when they don't want you to." Tweeden, who spoke to CNN's Jake Tapper the night prior about sexual harassment and assault not being a partisan issue, believes Franken has realized that he was "disgusted" by his actions.
The panel, however, ended on a silent note about Trump. When Joy Behar referenced Trump commenting on Franken and Tweeden's photo, the co-host reminded the audience that 16 accusers have spoken out about the president, who claims they are all lying.