It is eleven days now since Sen. [score]Al Franken[/score] (D-SNL) officially announced he was resigning … eventually.
It was never clear why he needed to include the phrase “in the coming weeks” in the statement he read on the Senate floor. Some Democrats speculated that he needed time to close out his office and transition to his replacement, who was named the following week, but that explanation never passed the smell test. Plenty of pols before him have stepped down in the wake of scandals, and the vast majority of those have made their resignation “effective immediately.”
I was toying with the idea of creating a “Franken Senate Seat Death Watch” here at LU, perhaps even including readers in an office pool of sorts. But today, Politico reports that “four senators are urging … Franken to reconsider resigning, including two who issued statements calling for the resignation two weeks ago and said they now feel remorse over what they feel was a rush to judgment.”
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), who urged Franken not to step down to begin with — at least not before he went through an Ethics Committee investigation — said the Minnesota senator was railroaded by fellow Democrats.
“What they did to Al was atrocious, the Democrats,” said West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin in an interview for POLITICO’s Off Message podcast to post on Tuesday.
Manchin, a centrist Democrat, has always struck me as fairminded, but his claim that Franken was railroaded is naïve. The call for his resignation — while carefully calculated by the Democrats as a political card to be played to oust Roy Moore in the event he won the special election in Alabama — was nevertheless justified. Franken freely admitted to groping a number of women and even issued an apology of sorts.
Among the other senators who called for Franken’s departure but are now rethinking their position are [score]Kirsten Gillibrand[/score] (D-N.Y.), which is no surprise, and Oklahoma Republican [score]James Lankford[/score], which is. According to Politico, “Lankford continues to believe and say that he thinks Franken should have gone through the Ethics Committee process.”
Yeah, just what we need from government: to spend more taxpayer money to decide whether a self-confessed pervert was sleazy enough to deserve the boot from Congress.