Senator Al Franken said in multiple media outlets in Minnesota on Sunday that he was sorry after several allegations of badual misconduct in his first round of interviews since the initial indictment. But Franken showed no signs of leaving his office, saying he expected to return to work on Monday.
"I am ashamed and ashamed, I have disappointed many people and I hope I can compensate them and gradually regain their confidence," Franken told Minneapolis Star-Tribune .
When asked if the public could As they wait for more stories to come out, Franken replied: "If you had asked me two weeks ago, would you say any woman who had treated you with disrespect?" I would have said no, so this has just taken me by surprise … I certainly hope not. "
Although four women have told Franken's inappropriate behavior towards them, no Democratic lawmaker has demanded Franken's resignation. Many have diverted the questions by citing an investigation by the Senate Ethics Committee, which Franken invited in his first statement apologizing for his actions.
"The Ethics Committee is investigating all this and will cooperate fully with it," said Franken. Minnesota Public Radio.
Franken was charged for the first time with misconduct on November 16 by announcer Leeann Tweeden, who alleged that he forcibly kissed her during rehearsals of a USO comedy sketch in 2007, one year before Franken was elected Senate. Tweeden also produced a picture of Franken grabbing, or pretending to grab, her bads while she slept.
A second woman, Lindsay Menz, told CNN a few days later that Franken had grabbed her bad at the Minnesota State Fair in 2010. Two other women anonymously told HuffPost that Franken had also grabbed them from the bad in separate incidents in 2007 and 2008. It was also said that Franken had invited her to join him in a restroom, an allegation that Franken denied on Sunday.
He did not deny the other accusations, but said: "I do not remember these photographs, I do not remember them, this is not something I would do intentionally."
Franken, and the Democrats who support him, can expect their offenses to be overshadowed by more terrible revelations about other lawmakers. On Sunday, Democratic Congressman John Conyers, 88, resigned from the House Judiciary Committee after a BuzzFeed report alleged he had paid a former staff member for keeping silent about his badual advances. The election of the Alabama Senate presents a candidate who has been accused of attacking 14-year-olds. And there is probably much more to come, as the sequel to Harvey Weinstein spreads through the political world.
Even so, Democrats who could have successfully dismissed Franken's misconduct as a single time after the first accusation are treading on potentially dangerous ground. Some already think that the minimization of their behavior is less like a reasonable interpretation of the facts and more like a double standard . These criticisms will only increase in volume if more women appear. And that's not to mention that Minnesota voters have quickly soured on the senator, at least for now. (He is the next candidate for reelection in 2020)
Franken, as he acknowledged on Sunday, has a long way to go.
"I know I'm not going to regain your confidence immediately," he said. . "There are no magic words I can say here for that to happen"