Minnesota Sen. Al Franken, a senator among the most admired by Democrats, has been in hot water and fighting for his political survival after sexual abuse allegations began to surface two weeks ago.
Franken’s issues rose to climax this past Thursday when a fifth accuser, a veteran came forward, claiming Franken groped her during a photo op. Following this accusation, the sexual abuse topic seems to be more of a rising social movement rather than just a passing topic. A heavy discussion within the Democratic Party has ensued, confirming ideas to immunize the party from such actions.
These accusations soon became the least of Franken’s issues when Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi called on Rep. John Conyers to step down for the mistreatment of women in his office and for asking sexual favors of them.
“Zero tolerance means consequences for everyone,” Pelosi said.
Where this becomes troubling is that Franken has been mentioned as a potential candidate for the 2020 presidential race. He is sharply against President Donald Trump, a man who has been slammed for his misogynistic comments.
Sexual abuse. A potential runner for 2020 is facing five alleged counts of sexual abuse.
“I know I’ve got a lot of work to do to regain people’s trust,” Franken said in a statement provided to The Washington Post. “But I remain committed to continuing to work as hard as I can for my constituents.”
In the first allegation against Franken, news anchor Leeann Tweeden said he forcibly kissed her during a SNL skit rehearsal. In a second allegation with Tweeden, where Tweeden produced photos of Franken pretending to grope her breasts while she slept.
President Trump, keen on being a smartass, took to Twitter and said, “The Al Frankenstein picture is really bad, speaks a thousand words. Where do his hands go in pictures 2, 3, 4, 5 & 6 while she sleeps?”
Trump has a valid point.
Four more allegations arose among different women. Lindsay Menz, claimed that Franken grabbed her buttocks while the two took a photo together at the Minnesota State Fair in 2010.
The Huffington Post has since reported of two separate women who also argued Franken touched their buttocks in 2007 and 2008.
Most recently, and the most shocking, being veteran military police officer, Stephanie Kemplin’s account, when she posed with Franken during the 2003 USO tour in Kuwait.
In a report by CNN Kemplin said, “When he put his arm around me, he groped my right breast. He kept his hand all the way over on my breast. I’ve never had a man put their arm around me and then cup my breast.”
Kemplin, recalls feeling hurt, a victim of sexual assault herself, she wondered why a man being brought to Kuwait to raise soldier’s morale took to assaulting her, although she could not speak of it to her senior officers at the time, she confided in her sister and ex-boyfriend.
Franken does not recall inappropriately groping Kemplin, stating that as a public figure he is constantly taking photos and cannot recall specific cases of indecency. Franken, however, continues to apologize for his behavior that he said “crossed a line” in the cases of certain women.
Franken now may face a full investigation by the Senate Ethics Committee, an investigation he has agreed to cooperate with if it takes place.
“If you had asked me two weeks ago, would any woman come forward with an allegation like this, I would have said no. And so I cannot speculate. This has been a shock and it’s been extremely humbling. I am embarrassed. I feel ashamed,” Franken told CNN.