MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — On TV, and in written statements, Sen. Al Franken has repeatedly apologized after multiple women accused him of sexual harassment.
But will it matter? WCCO’s Pat Kessler put that question to some of those calling for Franken’s resignation.
Franken was in full apology mode in Washington on Monday, promising to win back the trust of Minnesota voters.
But what that means is uncertain.
“We renew our calls for Senator Franken to resign,” State Republican Party Chair Jennifer Carnahan said.
Carnahan says Franken’s apology is not enough, accusing the Junior Senator of blaming harassment victims without admitting wrongdoing.
“His apologies if you listen to it are, ‘I’m sorry if the victim felt this way. I don’t recall the incident,’ versus taking ownership and accountability for his specific actions that are being alleged by these individuals,” Carnahan said.
Franken says he won’t resign.
In Minnesota, 65 Democratic women released a letter expressing disappointment, but support.
And Gov. Mark Dayton reiterated what he said last week: wait and see what happens in the Ethics Committee.
“I will defer to the U.S. Senate Ethics Committee to investigate and act on it before making any further judgement,” Dayton said.
A Survey USA/KSTP poll taken before Franken’s apology found 22 percent of Minnesotans want him to remain in office, 33 percent say resign and 36 percent want to wait for the Ethics Committee findings.
“I think it’s very unclear as to whether or not it will be enough,” University of Minnesota political analyst Kathryn Pearson said.
Pearson says Franken is treading in dangerous political waters in which he could easily go under.
“Democrats and Republicans are divided over this, but this is going to affect Franken’s ability to be effective, at least in the short term,” Pearson said.
Senator Franken is not up for re-election until 2020, more than two years away.
Earlier this year, he announced plans to seek a third term. But Monday he said it’s too early to decide.