Senator Al Franken announced his resignation on Thursday, in an emotional address on the Senate floor. Franken has lately been surrounded by controversy due to allegations of sexual harassment made against him.
“I am announcing that in the coming weeks I will be resigning as a member of the United States Senate,” Franken said, continuing to deny the allegations made by several women, saying it was “the worst day of my political life.”
“I, of all people, am aware that there is some irony in the fact that I am leaving while a man who has bragged on tape about his history of sexual assault sits in the Oval Office, and a man who has repeatedly preyed on young girls campaigns for the Senate with the full support of his party,” he added, referring to President Donald Trump and Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore, both of whom have also been accused of sexual misconduct.
Republican Trent Franks resigned only hours later after an investigation was opened by the House Ethics Committee into similar allegations of sexual harassment. He was the third Congressman to resign in the past three days due to claims of sexual impropriety, The New York Times reports.
The series of departures comes amid sexual harassment controversies which has resulted in a number of men from various industries losing their jobs. Lawmakers are still trying to come up with a way to respond to accusations of sexual improprieties on Capitol Hill.
Franken resigned only a day after the majority of Democrats, both male and female, called on him to do so. Republicans, on the other hand, have not followed in their colleagues footsteps, putting very little pressure on members of their party accused of sexual misconduct to resign.
Moore continues to receive support by both the president and the Republican National Committee in the Alabama race, despite accusations that he sexually molested or assaulted girls as young as 14 when he was in his thirties.
“After years of making the argument that character mattered in terms of sexual ethics, now Republicans are saying it doesn’t matter at all,” said Peter Wehner, who advised former President George W. Bush on domestic policy.