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Franken Accuser Tweeden: ‘I’m Not Calling For Him To Step Down’
Leeann Tweeden, a reporter and former model, accused Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) of inappropriately forcing her to kiss him during a USO show several years ago and groping her while she was asleep.
The kiss came about during a skit the two put on for the USO back in 2006, two years before Franken was elected to become a U.S. senator. “I was only expecting to emcee and introduce the acts, but Franken said he had written a part for me that he thought would be funny, and I agreed to play along,” Tweeden wrote in a blog post.
“When I saw the script, Franken had written a moment when his character comes at me for a ‘kiss,’” she added. “I suspected what he was after, but I figured I could turn my head at the last minute, or put my hand over his mouth, to get more laughs from the crowd.”
The two rehearsed the skit beforehand, during which Tweeden said the comedian “put his hand on the back of my head, mashed his lips against mine and aggressively stuck his tongue in my mouth.”
Leeden also said that Franken groped her breasts while she was sleeping, providing a picture that was taken without her knowledge during the ordeal.
US senator Al Franken apologises for grope caught on camera https://t.co/6O9H5z6sV3
— BBC News (World) (@BBCWorld) November 16, 2017
Responding to Tweeden’s account of what happened, Franken did what many who have been accused refuse to do: apologize.
“There’s more I want to say, but the first and most important thing — and if it’s the only thing you care to hear, that’s fine — is: I’m sorry,” he said. He also agreed to cooperate with any congressional ethics investigation against him should one come up.
That prompted people to ask Tweeden whether she accepts Franken’s apology. The sports and news talk radio host said she did.
“The apology, sure I accept it, yes,” she said. “People make mistakes, and of course he knew he made a mistake. So yes, I do accept that apology. There’s no reason why I shouldn’t accept his apology.”
She also rejected the idea that Franken should resign, unless more women step forward with accusations against him. “People make mistakes. I’m not calling for him to step down. That’s not my place to say that,” she said.
But Franken should consider stepping down if more women come forward with similar accusations — and Democrats ought to call for his resignation if they do. We mustn’t think about politics when it comes to leaders who are abusers or harassers. Political ideology should be given zero consideration when it comes to these serious accusations.
I like Franken — his politics line up with a lot of my personal beliefs. Yet had Tweeden said Franken deserved to be removed from office, it would have been difficult to have disagreed with her. That said, she has accepted his apology, and wants him to stay a senator.
For the time being, that’s how it should be. But again, if more women step forward, he take himself out of Washington.