Franken spokesman: Senator won’t resign, doing a lot of ‘reflecting’

A spokesperson for Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) said the senator would not resign in the wake of an accusation he kissed and groped a woman without her consent, The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reported Sunday.

“He is spending time with his family in Washington, D.C., and will be through the Thanksgiving holiday, and he’s doing a lot of reflecting,” the spokesperson told the newspaper.

Leeann Tweeden, a Los Angeles radio host, published a story on Friday alleging that Franken forcibly kissed and groped her during a USO tour in 2006. Franken had not yet entered politics at the time, and was working as a comedian.

Tweeden also published a photo in which Franken appears to grab her chest while she sleeps.

Franken issued an initial statement saying he did not remember the USO skit the same way, then issued a longer statement in which he apologized and joined other lawmakers’ calls for a Senate Ethics Committee investigation. Franken said he would gladly cooperate.

Tweeden accepted Franken’s apology, adding that she is not calling for him to step down.

Sexual harassment has been at the forefront of discussion on the Hill in recent weeks. Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore (R) is facing allegations of sexual misconduct from multiple women. Two have claimed he initiated a sexual encounter with them when they were teenagers and he was in his 30s.

Several allegations of sexual misconduct surfaced during the 2016 presidential campaign against President Trump. The White House on Friday said the difference between accusations against Franken and Trump is that Franken admitted wrongdoing, and the president hasn’t.

A pair of female Democratic lawmakers introduced legislation on Wednesday that would overhaul policies to combat and report complaints of sexual harassment on Capitol Hill.

The Senate also passed a resolution this week requiring that all senators and staffers undergo sexual harassment training.

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