(AP) – Minnesota Sen. Al Franken says he’ll resign in the coming weeks. He’s repeatedly apologized as several women accused him of sexually inappropriate behavior, and as his support from fellow Democrats evaporated.
The Minnesota lawmaker took to the Senate floor to say, “I may be resigning my seat, but I am not giving up my voice.” He says he’ll addressing issues as an activist.
Franken says he can’t go through a Senate Ethics Committee investigation and effectively represent his state at the same time.
In remarks that lasted 11 minutes, he said that, thanks to his family, “I’m going to be just fine.”
He says some charges against him are untrue and that he remembers other differently than his accusers do. But he says women “deserve to be heard and their experiences taken seriously.”
Democratic senators, staff and family members were somber yet emotional as they watched and listened to Franken’s remarks.
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.
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.