While denying the veracity of some of the accusations of sexual misconduct levied against him by various women, Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn) took to the floor of the U.S. Senate later Thursday morning to announce he would, "in the coming weeks," resign his seat in the wake of the numerous allegations and under pressure from his Democratic colleagues.
"The Democratic Party was on the verge of failing a moral and political test. Then its women stepped in." —Dara Lind, Vox.com"Some of the allegations against me are simply not true. Others I remember very differently,” Franken said, before acknowledging that under the shadow of the allegations, he could no longer be "an effective senator" for the people of Minnesota.
"I know in my heart that nothing I have done as a senator, nothing, has brought dishonor on this institution, and I am confident that the Ethics Committee would agree. Nevertheless, today I am announcing that in the coming weeks I will be resigning as a member of the United States Senate," he said.
Watch Franken's floor speech:
Franken, a well-known comedian and political commentator before he ran for office in 2008, said it was the "honor of his life" to serve in the U.S. Senate, but admitted that "today was the worst day of his political career."
On Wednesday, a group of six female Senators in the Democratic caucus called on Franken to step down. They were then joined throughout the day and evening by increasing numbers of caucus members —both men and women—echoing the demand.
As journalist Dara Lind put it at Vox, "The Democratic Party was on the verge of failing a moral and political test. Then its women stepped in."
Led by the female group of Democratic Senators calling on Franken to step down, the Democratic Party, wrote Lind, is beginning to "make it clear that they will hold their own accountable."
It was not lost on Franken that as he gives up his seat amid allegations of his past misconduct, that the Republican Party is currently led by a man, President Donald Trump, whom more than a dozen women have accused of sexual assault and harassment while at the same time both Trump and the GOP leadership are actively supporting the campaign of Roy Moore—credibly accused of sexually abusing teenage girls—to fill Alabama's empty Senate seat.
"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" Franken said during his remarks.