Almost a year after resigning from the Senate amid multiple allegations of sexual misconduct, former Minnesota Sen. Al Franken took to Facebook on Thanksgiving morning to reflect on the “broader conversation” about the experiences of women in the United States.
Franken begins the lengthy post about his love for the holiday, mentioning his wife of 43 years, Franni, and their two children, but also recalls how last Thanksgiving was tough on him and his family.
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“I’ve also spent a lot of time over this past year thinking about the broader conversation we’ve been having about the experience of women in this country. I know that, for so many people, this issue raises a lot of powerful and painful feelings,” he wrote. “This conversation can also be incredibly complicated. I don’t think it’s my place to weigh in on all the debates – but I will continue to listen and learn.”
The former Democratic junior senator, who announced his resignation on Dec. 7, 2017, wrote that “after a year of reflection, I’m finding it a lot easier to be grateful this Thanksgiving. Grateful for having had the chance to help make a difference on issues I care about. Grateful to all my supporters in Minnesota and across the country who made that journey not just possible, but joyful. Grateful to everyone who has reached out to wish me well – and, more importantly, kept carrying forward the fights I was proud to lead as a Senator.”
Franken was accused of inappropriately touching seven women, including Leeann Tweeden, a morning news anchor on KABC radio in Los Angeles, who alleged that Franken groped and forcibly kissed her during a USO tour in 2006, before he became a senator. The Senate Ethics Committee launched an investigation into the senator as more women began to come forward with allegations.
Franken repeatedly apologized for his inappropriate behavior, which he said was unintentional but “crossed a line” for some women.
“Some of the allegations against me are simply not true. Others I remember very differently,” he said during his resignation. “It’s become clear that I can’t both pursue the Ethics Committee process and at the same time remain an effective senator for them. Let me be clear: I may be resigning my seat but I am not giving up my voice.”
While Franken stated that “representing Minnesota in the Senate was the greatest job I’ll ever have” and that he still misses “being in the fight every day,” he “certainly” won’t be running for office again soon.
“I hope that, in the next year, I’ll have the chance to help make a difference again,” he added.