STATEMENTS: Democrats Somber after Franken Resignation Announcement

December 07, 2017 02:23 PM

Democratic senators, staff and family members were somber yet emotional as they watched Minnesota Sen. Al Franken say he would resign.

Franken's family members sat in the Senate gallery, some of them crying. Staff lined up in the back of the chamber, stone faced. And around 18 Democratic senators quietly listened to his speech on the floor. No Republicans were present except the chamber's presiding officer, Alaska Sen. Dan Sullivan.

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RELATED: Franken Resigns: Feels Work as Senator has 'Improved People's Lives'

Democrats who sat and listened to Franken's speech included Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar and New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, the first to call Wednesday for Franken to resign.

Franken was facing multiple sexual misconduct allegations. After his 11 minute speech, Democrats lined up to hug him.

TIMELINE: Franken Allegations

Minnesota political figures and others have released statements reacting to Franken's announcement.

U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar

  • Today Senator Franken acknowledged that he could no longer serve in the Senate and resigned. As he and I discussed yesterday, this is the right decision. Senator Franken has worked for years on behalf of the people of Minnesota and he has been a leader on issues that are fundamental to Americans’ lives, including education, privacy, healthcare and mental health.  He has been a friend to me and to many in our state.

    As the women who have come forward to tell their stories across America have made clear, sexual harassment is never acceptable.  In every workplace in America, including the U.S. Senate, we must confront the challenges of harassment and misconduct.  Nothing is easy or pleasant about this, but we all must recognize that our workplace cultures—and the way we treat each other as human beings—must change.

    For Franni, the Franken family, Senator Franken’s friends and supporters in our state, it’s a very tough day. I want you to know I remain as committed as ever to working together and standing up for people, for common decency, and for our democracy during an incredibly difficult and divisive time in our country. And as we go forward together, we must never forget the words of Senator Paul Wellstone, whom Senator Franken quoted in part today, "Politics is not about power. Politics is not about money. Politics is not about winning for the sake of winning. Politics is about the improvement of people’s lives."

Gov. Mark Dayton

  • I extend my deepest regrets to the women, who have had to endure their unwanted experiences with Senator Franken. As a personal friend, my heart also goes out to Al and his family during this difficult time.

    In other respects, Al Franken has been an outstanding Senator. He has been, as Senator Paul Wellstone used to say, 'A Senator from the Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party.' He is very smart, very hard-working, and very committed to Minnesota. I wish him well in his future endeavors.

    Events have unfolded quickly; thus, I have not yet decided on my appointment to fill this upcoming vacancy. I expect to make and announce my decision in the next couple of days.

    I will have no further comments on this subject until that time.

Norm Coleman

  • While Al Franken and I have had, and continued to have, conflict and deeply rooted disagreements before, during and after the 2008 election and recount, I find no joy, pleasure or satisfaction in today's announcement. 

    Today begins a new day for Minnesota and like all Minnesotans I stand ready to support and assist our new United States Senator in getting off to a strong and successful start in serving the greatest state and people in the country.

    Last month I became head of the government relations practice at Hogan Lovells, one of the largest law firms in the world; I am National Chairman of the Republican Jewish Coalition at a time of transformation of the U.S.-Israel relationship; and as Chair of the American Action Network and founder of the Congressional Leadership Fund, I am in the midst of a major effort to maintain Republican control of the U.S. House in 2018.

    My heart and passion is still in public service.

    But my commitment to family, my partners  and these worthy causes precludes me from running in 2018.

    With this in mind I will not be a candidate for the United States Senate in 2018.

Lt. Gov. Tina Smith

  • Senator Franken has been a servant to the people of Minnesota, and a champion for working people during his time in the Senate. I thank him for his service. On this difficult day, I am holding Senator Franken, his family, and those who have worked beside him over the last decade to make this country a better place, in my thoughts.

    I also am thinking today about the many women around the country who have come forward in recent months to share their stories about sexual harassment. Sexual harassment can never be tolerated in our politics, our businesses, or anywhere else.

    Now, it is on all of us to come together and make the progress necessary to live up to the values we believe in. Governor Dayton and I remain committed to ensuring that Minnesota is a place where everyone has the opportunity to realize their full potential.

Rep. Tim Walz (MN-01)

  • Like many Minnesotans, I have been deeply disappointed by the serious allegations against Senator Franken. I have served with Senator Franken for eight years in the U.S. Congress and he has accomplished a lot of good for Minnesotans. But I believe the pattern of his behavior is unacceptable and his ability to continue to effectively serve Minnesotans has been irreparably compromised. For the good of Minnesotans and the American people, I believe Senator Franken has made the right decision in stepping aside.

Whom do you believe Gov. Mark Dayton should appoint to replace Sen. Al Franken? Let him know your thoughts.


 

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