Democratic Senator Al Franken gave a farewell speech Thursday on Capitol Hill, thanking his family and friends, while lambasting the president and his administration for what he called ‘lies.’
The 40 minute speech by the outgoing Senator from Minnesota, who is stepping down amid allegations of inappropriate touching made by multiple women, tore into Trump and his fellow Republicans on a number of issues from treatment of LGBT rights to climate change and the middle class.
‘As I leave the Senate, I have to admit that it feels like we’re losing the war for truth,’ Franken said in his final speech on the Senate floor. ‘Maybe it’s already lost. If that’s what happens, then we have lost the ability to have the kinds of arguments that help build consensus.’
‘During his inaugural address, President Trump vowed that ‘the forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer,’ Franken said. ‘But the Republican tax bill represents a slap in the face to those forgotten men and women. I guess the president forgot about them.’
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U.S. Senator Al Franken, a Minnesota Democrat, in his farewell, lambasted the Trump administration. He officially resigns Jan. 2 after allegations of inappropriate touching by several women
Franken took shots at the Trump administration for its handling of LGBT rights issues and how the tax bill heavily benefits the one per cent
On the issue of voter fraud in the 2016 elections, Franken said: ‘It’s all based on a lie — and not a lie President Trump came up with.
Right-wing conservatives have been raising a false alarm about so-called voter fraud for years despite the fact that no credible evidence has ever been [found] demonstrating that it is a real problem.’
Franken also took issue with LGBT policies. ‘Lurking behind these policies are lies,’ he said. ‘Lies that the advocates of LGBT rights want to trample on people’s religious freedom. The lie that families led by a gay or lesbian couple don’t provide a safe environment for children. The lie that allowing transgender people to use the appropriate bathroom opens the door to sexual assault. President Trump didn’t invent these lies. But he and his administration proudly repeat them.’
‘We now have enough evidence to conclude that climate change is real and it is man-made and it is a threat to our nation’s security and an existential threat to the planet,’ Franken said. ‘President Trump didn’t launch the war on science, but now he’s leading the charge.’
Franken, who said on Wednesday he is officially stepping down on Jan. 2, praised his successor, Minnesota Lt. Gov. Tina Smith.
‘I have no doubt Sen. Smith will serve Minnesotans and all Americans well,’ Franken said.
AOL News reported Franken concluded his speech on a positive note.
‘Politics is about the improvement of people’s lives,’ Franken said. ‘The American people know that to be true. And they fill me with hope for our future.’
The 66-year-old former comedian from Minnesota had been seen as a rising star in the Democratic Party but he faced growing calls from fellow Senate Democrats to step down as allegations against him mounted.
Sen. Patrick Leahy said this week he regrets calling for Sen. Al Franken to resign instead of waiting for an ethics investigation.
The Burlington Free Press reported the Vermont Democrat released a statement Monday, saying he has ‘stood for due process’ throughout his career, and that he regrets ‘not doing that this time.’ He says the Ethics Committee ‘should have been allowed to investigate and make its recommendation.’
U.S. Senator Al Franken, a Minnesota Democrat, announced his resignation on Dec. 7 over allegations of sexual misconduct
Franken announced his resignation from the Senate earlier this month following allegations of sexual misconduct. At the time, Leahy and dozens of other senators had urged the Minnesota Democrat to step down.
Franken got a new lease on political life after four of his colleagues stepped forward to say his promised resignation over groping and sexual harassment allegations should be put on pause.
Politico cited four lawmakers on Monday saying Franken was too quick to throw himself on the live grenade of the #MeToo movement and deserved a second chance.
None of them are women.
West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin criticized lawmakers who demanded Franken’s head on a spit and then embraced him for pledging to quit.
‘I hope they have enough guts… and enough conscience and enough heart to say, “Al, we made a mistake asking prematurely for you to leave,”‘ he said.
Fellow Democrat Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia said Monday morning on CNN that Franken deserves to stay as long as an ethics panel of his peers clears him
Accused: After the first allegation by radio broadcaster Leeann Tweeden, who produced this notorious photograph, Al Franken had a steady drip of follow-up accusers
The allegations against Franken began in mid-November when Leeann Tweeden, now a Los Angeles radio anchor, accused him of forcibly kissing her during a 2006 USO tour in Afghanistan.
Other allegations followed, including a woman who says Franken put his hand on her buttocks as they posed for a photo at the Minnesota State Fair in 2010.
Two more women told the Huffington Post that Franken squeezed their rear ends at political events during his first campaign for the Senate in 2008.
A fourth, an Army veteran, alleged Franken cupped her breast during a photo on a USO tour in 2003.
Franken has apologized for his behavior but has also disputed some of the allegations.
Minnesota Lieutenant Governor Tina Smith has already been chosen to replace Franken
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand was among a group of female senators who called on Al Franken to resign from the Senate
AL FRANKEN’S FEMALE ACCUSERS
The 41-year-old Army vet says Franken grabbed her breast when the two posed for a photo at a USO event in Kuwait in December 2003. Kemplin is a registered Republican who voted for Trump in the presidential election.
‘I remember clenching up and how you just feel yourself flushed. And I remember thinking, ‘Is he going to move his hand? Was it an accident? Was he going to move his hand?’,’ she said. ‘He never moved his hand.’
Anonymous former New England elected official
A former chair of a New England town’s Selectboard says she was invited to take part in a live taping of Franken’s radio show in the spring of 2006. After her interview, she says Franken shook her hand, pulled her close and then forcibly kissed her on the cheek.
‘It was onstage in front of a full theater,’ she said. ‘It was insidious. It was in plain sight and yet nobody saw it.’
The Los Angeles radio news anchor says Franken forcibly kissed her with tongue and then ‘jokingly’ groped her breasts on a USO tour in 2006.
‘He came at me, put his hand on the back of my head, mashed his lips against mine, and aggressively stuck his tongue in my mouth,’ Tweeden wrote. ‘I felt disgusted and violated.’
There is also a damning photo of Franken groping her with a mischievous grin while she slept on a military aircraft
Anonymous 38-year-old book editor
This Franken accuser says she met Franken at the Minnesota Women’s Political Caucus in June 2007 and that he grabbed her butt while the two took a photo at the event. She describes herself as liberal.
This accuser says she was 21 years old in 2008 when she met Franken at a Democratic fundraiser in Minneapolis. She says Franken grabbed her butt and later suggested that the two visit the bathroom together.
‘My immediate reaction was disgust,’ she said, ‘but my secondary reaction was disappointment.’
Anonymous congressional aide
A former campaign worker said Franken tried to ‘forcibly kiss her’ after a 2006 taping of his radio show. She recalled ducking to avoid him and that, as she tried to leave Franken told her: ‘It’s my right as an entertainer.’
The former congressional staffer, wrote an op-ed in The Atlantic titled ‘I believe Franken’s accusers because he groped me, too.’
Her encounter came during a Media Matters for America party during the first Obama inauguration weekend, in January 2009. As she posed for a photo with Franken, she recalled that he ‘immediately put his hand on my waist, grabbing a handful of flesh. I froze. Then he squeezed. At least twice.’
Stay-at-home mom Lindsey Menz says Franken grabbed her butt as her husband took a picture of her and the senator at the Minnesota State Fair in 2010. She described herself as a Republican who voted for Trump in the presidential election. However, she has voted for Democrats including Minnesota’s senior Sen. Amy Klobuchar. She can’t remember if she voted for Franken, but believes she did. She now lives in Texas.