Minnesota Democratic Sen. Al Franken said he would resign in a speech on the Senate floor Thursday amid multiple allegations of sexual misconduct.
Franken’s announcement comes the day after several dozen of his Democratic colleagues called for the Minnesota Democratic to step aside. Before announcing his resignation, Franken called himself a “champion of woman.”
“Serving in the United States Senate has been a great honor of my life. … Today I am announcing that in the coming weeks, I will be resigning as a member of the United States Senate,” Franken said.
“I was shocked. I was upset. But in responding to their claims, I wanted to be respectful of that broader conversation because all women deserve to be heard and their experience taken seriously,” the Minnesota Democrat said in his speech. “I’m giving up my seat, but I’m not giving up my voice.”
Leeann Tweeden first accused Franken in late November of forcibly kissing her and groping her on a USO tour in 2006. Franken apologized for his behavior, but continued to face allegations from a number of other women, who say he sexually mistreated them while serving in the U.S. Senate. Seven women now have accused Franken of sexually misconduct.
Minnesota’s female Democratic lieutenant governor, Tina Smith, will reportedly replace Franken to prevent a special election which would give Republican’s an opportunity to run for Franken’s now vacant seat.
“This decision is not about me,” Franken added. “It’s about the people of Minnesota.”