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Following three weeks of sexual misconduct allegations and more than 30 Democrats calling for his resignation, Sen. Al Franken announced Thursday (Dec. 7) that he’d be stepping down from the Senate.
Just hours later, multiple late-night hosts tackled the downfall of the comedian-turned-politician.
Jimmy Fallon addressed Franken’s resignation during his Tonight Show monologue. “Other senators said he seemed heartfelt, contrived and dignified and there’s no place for someone like that in the United States Senate,” began Fallon. “Franken said he couldn’t focus on his job while under investigation, then another guy said, ‘That’s why I blow off the job and focus on my investigation,’” he said in his Donald Trump impersonation.
“And after Franken resigned, another senator’s expected to resign tomorrow,” said Fallon. “I’m not basing this on any news. I’m just assuming there’ll be another senator that has to resign.”
Seth Meyers also addressed the news of Franken’s resignation on Thursday’s episode of Late Night. The host first summarized some of the allegations against the senator and referenced an interview in which Franken was asked if he believes any more women would come forward with allegations. He responded, “I certainly hope not.” Meyers then stated, “Not an answer that inspires a lot of confidence.”
The host then mentioned a former Democratic Congressional staffer’s claim that Franken grabbed her waist while taking a photo and squeezed her twice. “Not only can you not do that to a woman you barely know, you can’t do that to your wife,” Meyers said.
“This should be a non-partisan issue but many Republicans exploited Franken’s exit for political gain, while simultaneously refusing to denounce abusers in their own party,” said Meyers of the political party that has had many members face their own sexual misconduct allegations. Meyers pointed out the hypocrisy in Kellyanne Conway’s tweet directed at New York Democrat Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand for leading the movement for Franken to step down when “Just yesterday, she wasn’t so sure.” In response to Conway’s tweet, Meyers stated, “You work for a guy who’s been accused by more than 12 women of sexual harassment and assault!”
Late Night writer Amber Ruffin sat down with Meyers to show off what she has learned about apologies from the powerful men that have been accused of sexual misconduct in the recent months.
After punching Meyers in the face, Ruffin stated, “I categorically deny those allegations.” When Meyers told Ruffin the she did in fact punch him, she responded, “Did I? That doesn’t sound like me. Anyone who knows me would say that’s very out of character.” After stating that Meyers must remember the events differently, she said, “I’m sorry … that your face feels punched.” Meyers then stated that she did not give a real apology, to which Ruffin retorted, “Seth, it was a different time back then.”
To further prove her point that she would never punch someone’s face, Ruffin said, “I’ve always been a supporter of faces. Some of my best friends have faces.” Unsatisfied with her apology, Meyers asked that she be more sincere. “I did punch Seth Meyers in the face. I am sorry. I guess I was hesitant to apologize because then everyone would know that I’m a dirty face puncher,” she said. “And now because people know I’m a face puncher, there are certain jobs that I just can’t have like movie producer or Today show host or senator from Minnesota, but I can still be a senator from Alabama!”
The Daily Show host Trevor Noah focused on Franken’s statement regarding the irony of his resignation when Trump remains president and Roy Moore continues his run for Senate, even though they have both been accused of sexual misconduct multiple times. “Regardless of how you feel about Al Franken, he does have a point,” said Noah. “Democrats are draining their swamp. Republicans are installing a jungle gym in Roy Moore’s new office.”
“If Al Franken was a Republican, for better or worse, he would still have his job. He was just in the wrong party, that’s all,” concluded Noah. “Like a dude who shows up at a wedding wearing a toga. Wrong party. Or the guy who brings Cranium to an orgy. Wrong party.”
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