Twitter was divided on Thursday as people voiced their approval — or disappointment — over Sen. Al Franken’s resignation amid multiple allegations of sexual misconduct.
Much like Franken himself did in his emotional Senate-floor speech, many tweeters pointed out the irony that the Minnesota Democrat was forced to resign over his alleged actions while other politicians who have been accused of sexual misconduct — including President Donald Trump and embattled Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore — have not faced consequences. (Trump and Moore have denied the allegations against them.)
Actress Ellen Barkin showed support for Franken while decrying Democrats for their part in his resignation, tweeting: “1) Dear @alfranken , I am a woman. I have seen more than my fair share of abuse from all sides of the aisle. I am completely shook that you are resigning. When will dems see that they get nothing by taking the ‘high ground’ except a 6ft grave. #resist.”
Franken also received surprising support from Republicans, including Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer, who said the second-term senator should not have stepped down.
Others suggested that two wrongs don’t make a right, saying that Franken was right to resign but that Trump and Moore should follow suit.
Franken has been accused of inappropriately touching seven women, including Leeann Tweeden, a morning news anchor on KABC radio in Los Angeles, who alleged last month that Franken groped and forcibly kissed her during a USO tour in 2006, before he became a senator. Tweeden, who released a photo of the former Saturday Night Live star apparently grabbing her breasts while she was sleeping, said she accepted Franken’s subsequent apology and didn’t think he had to step down.
But as more women came forward with misconduct allegations against Franken, 66, the Senate Ethics Committee launched an investigation into the second-term senator. On Wednesday, a seventh woman, a former Democratic congressional aide, alleged that Franken tried to forcibly kiss her after a taping of his radio show in 2006. Franken, who has been married to wife Franni Bryson since 1975, has repeatedly apologized for his inappropriate behavior, which he said was unintentional but “crossed a line” for some women.
Franken said Thursday that he will be resigning from the Senate in the coming weeks. He added that “some of the allegations against me are simply not true. Others I remember very differently.”
He also spoke about the sexual misconduct allegations against Trump and Moore, pointing out the “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.”
Franken’s resignation came one day after at least eight female Democratic senators called for him to step down, including Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Patty Murray of Washington, Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire, Kamala Harris of California, Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, Mazie Hirono of Hawaii and Debbie Stabenow of Michigan.
But on Thursday, several female senators who called for Franken’s resignation were seen wiping their eyes and nose as they hugged Franken after his speech, Politico’s Seung Min Kim reported.