Franken not resigning: Senator says he'll work to regain Minnesotans' trust
ST. PAUL — Sen. Al Franken, who's been accused of sexual harassment by four women, said Thursday, Nov. 23, that he's not giving up on earning back the trust of his home state.
"Let me say again to Minnesotans that I'm sorry for putting them through this and I'm committed to regaining their trust," Franken said in a statement.
He described himself as a "warm person" who has met tens of thousands of people and taken thousands of photographs, "often in crowded and chaotic situations."
He said he's recently learned that at times — "too many" times — he crossed a line for some women.
"Some women have found my greetings or embraces for a hug or photo inappropriate, and I respect their feelings about that," Franken said.
He reiterated his apology and said he's determined not to let it happen again.
"I've thought a lot in recent days about how that could happen, and recognize that I need to be much more careful and sensitive in these situations," he said.
Franken did not directly address whether or not he plans to resign, despite some calls for him to step down.
His statement follows two recent anonymous sexual harassment allegations, which were made public Wednesday by the Huffington Post.
One of the anonymous women accusing Franken said he groped her while they posed for a photo. The other said Franken "cupped her butt with his hand" and "suggested the two visit the bathroom together," according to the Huffington Post.
Franken responded to the allegations by saying, "It's difficult to respond to anonymous accusers, and I don't remember those campaign events, but I can categorically say that I did not proposition anyone to join me in any bathroom."
Franken was accused last week of forcibly kissing a woman during a 2006 USO tour. That woman, Los Angeles radio anchor Leeann Tweeden, also posted a photograph of Franken with his hands above her chest as she slept wearing a flak vest aboard a military plane.
A different woman said Franken squeezed her buttocks while taking a picture together at the Minnesota State Fair in 2010.
The Democratic senator was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2008 and re-elected in 2014.
Here's Franken's full statement as it was provided to the Pioneer Press:
"I've met tens of thousands of people and taken thousands of photographs, often in crowded and chaotic situations. I'm a warm person; I hug people. I've learned from recent stories that in some of those encounters, I crossed a line for some women — and I know that any number is too many. Some women have found my greetings or embraces for a hug or photo inappropriate, and I respect their feelings about that. I've thought a lot in recent days about how that could happen, and recognize that I need to be much more careful and sensitive in these situations. I feel terribly that I've made some women feel badly and for that I am so sorry, and I want to make sure that never happens again. And let me say again to Minnesotans that I'm sorry for putting them through this and I'm committed to regaining their trust."