WASHINGTON (Reuters) – At least 10 U.S. Democratic senators on Wednesday called for fellow Democrat Al Franken to resign in light of allegations of sexual misconduct against him.
They are the first Democratic senators to publicly call for Franken to step down since the allegations made by several women surfaced.
Franken has apologized for most of the incidents and has said he would cooperate with a Senate ethics probe into his behavior.
Senators Kirsten Gillibrand, Maggie Hassan, Mazie Hirono, Claire McCaskill, Kamala Harris, Tammy Baldwin and third-ranking Senate Democrat Patty Murray all called for his resignation within minutes of each other. That represents almost half the 16 female Democratic senators.
They were joined by three male Democratic senators, Bob Casey, Joe Donnelly and Sherrod Brown.
“Today, I am calling on my colleague Al Franken to step aside,” Hirono wrote on Twitter. “I’ve struggled with this decision because he’s been a good senator and I consider him a friend. But that cannot excuse his behavior and his mistreatment of women.”
Several high-profile male politicians have been accused in recent weeks of sexual misconduct, including Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore and Democratic representative John Conyers, who resigned on Tuesday. Both of those men have denied the allegations against them.
Reporting by Makini Brice; Editing by Tim Ahmann and Bill Rigby