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Baird writes: "Accusations of sexual harassment against a member of the opposing party would usually be the perfect punching bag for Republicans. The problem? Those same Republicans have so far been unable to muster up the courage to call out alleged sexual predators in their own party."

From Left, Sen. Roy Blunt, Sen. John Then, Sen. Mitch McConnell, Sen John Barrasso. (photo: J. Scott Applewhite/AP)
From Left, Sen. Roy Blunt, Sen. John Then, Sen. Mitch McConnell, Sen John Barrasso. (photo: J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

Al Franken, Roy Moore and the Audacity of Mitch McConnell

By Addy Baird, ThinkProgress

07 December 17

The party recently returned to funding alleged child predator Roy Moore's campaign in Alabama.

n Wednesday afternoon, nearly two dozen Democratic senators called on Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) to resign.

The calls came just hours after Politico published the account of an unnamed woman who alleged that Franken had tried to forcibly kiss her in 2006. When she rejected his advances, the woman — the seventh to accuse Franken of sexual misconduct publicly, so far — said Franken told her, “It’s my right as an entertainer.” Franken has denied the accusation.

Around 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, in what appeared to be a coordinated effort, several high-profile woman senators, including Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), and Kamala Harris (D-CA), among others, released statements calling for Franken to resign. More than a dozen other senators had echoed those calls before lunchtime was even over.

It was a deluge. On the other side of the aisle, however, there was radio silence.

Accusations of sexual harassment against a member of the opposing party would usually be the perfect punching bag for Republicans. The problem? Those same Republicans have so far been unable to muster up the courage to call out alleged sexual predators in their own party.

On Monday, President Trump endorsed Republican Senate Candidate Roy Moore, who is running to fill the seat vacated by Attorney General Jeff Sessions in Alabama. Nine women have accused Moore of sexual abuse, including several women who were teenagers at the time of the alleged incidents. One was just 14 when she says Moore, in his 30’s at the time, molested her.

When The Washington Post published its bombshell report last month containing the stories of the first four women to accuse Moore, many top Republicans disavowed the Alabama Republican. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan both said they found the women’s stories credible and believed Moore should step down. The Republican National Committee stopped funding the campaign.

But Moore did not resign from the race, and despite mounting allegations — all of which Moore has denied — McConnell abruptly reversed course this week, saying it was up to the people of Alabama to decide whether or not Moore should represent them in Washington. Then, Trump, who had been criticizing Moore’s rival, Democrat Doug Jones, fully endorsed Moore.

In contrast to the Democratic National Committee, whose chair, Tom Perez, joined calls for Franken to resign on Wednesday, the RNC resumed funding Moore’s campaign on Monday, following Trump’s endorsement.  Many Republicans have also softened their stances since then.

Of course, Moore is hardly the only high-profile Republican facing sexual misconduct allegations. More than a dozen women have accused Trump of sexual harassment and assault as well. And so Republicans, rather than throwing punches on Wednesday, were forced to tread lightly.

In a statement to ThinkProgress, McConnell addressed the subject carefully, saying that the “near daily barrage of allegations of sexual misconduct against Senator Franken” were “extremely concerning to all of us in the Senate.”

But rather than calling for Franken to resign over the allegations, as Democrats have, McConnell punted, stating instead that it appeared Franken had lost the support of his colleagues and constituents.

“I do not believe he can effectively serve the people of Minnesota in the U.S. Senate any longer,” he said.

Franken is expected to address the future of his political career on Thursday. Whether Republicans have a change of heart and join their Democratic colleagues in condemning him before then is anyone’s guess. your social media marketing partner


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+12 # johnborksales 2017-12-07 15:07
I Mourn the loss of Al Franken, who has been an outstanding Senator and spokesman for progressive causes. He has done much good, yet he best step down: as should President Trump and that total hypocrite Judge Roy Moore. Let's hope that the people of Alabama will not look the other way and elect Moore.
+13 # RLF 2017-12-07 15:14
I'm done with the democratic party! So much wrong and they decide that they need to get rid of their own while the Republicans support pedophilia! I think this was as much cleansing the party of REAL liberals. Just like what's getting done now by Perez in party HQ. I won't be be supporting any of them...hear that Schumer and Gillibrand.
+2 # economagic 2017-12-07 20:33
Schumer is said to have endorsed the US recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Israel, the ONLY country in the world proposing to do so.
+13 # Moxa 2017-12-07 22:59
I don't know whom you like politically, but the way I see it is that Bernie Sanders is both the most popular politician in America and the most electable in 2020. As he has stated that he will run as a Democrat if he does run, it is imperative that we remain registered as Democrats so we can vote in the primary. Otherwise Bernie, or even some other real progressive has no chance.

Corrupt as the DNC and many Democratic leaders are, the landscape is shifting--mostl y due to Bernie's influence. The major 2020 presidential hopefuls have all endorsed Bernie's Medicare for all bill, for example. Bernie has changed the rules. The DNC may find itself irrelevant before too long, as Bernie's populist revolution takes over the party.
+1 # RLF 2017-12-10 06:17
We should be so lucky but I'm afraid the pro-corp. folks are in the leadership positions and like Hillary did to
Bernie...Thanks Obama for that last great pro-corporate shot with Perez.
+21 # vt143 2017-12-07 15:16
A Democratic is accused of sexual misconduct, admits it and resigns. A Republican is accused of same (with elements on tape) and he denies it and is a. Elected to the Senate (likely) b. Is elected President of the United States. Something wrong here????
+6 # lfeuille 2017-12-07 20:44
As I understand it, he did not admit wrong doing. He outright denied some of the accusations and said he remembered other incidents differently.
+1 # DongiC 2017-12-09 09:10
There sure is. It's called hypocrisy in capital letters. The grand old party stinks like a cesspool and looks like a swamp. Its leader, Sir Donald Trump, has managed to combine the worst of both worlds. What a jerk.
+20 # Liebermania 2017-12-07 15:32
Instead of stepping down now, Al Franken should have said he would be only to happy to step down as soon as Donald Trump and Roy Moore stepped down.
+1 # Cassandra2012 2017-12-08 17:02
Quoting Liebermania:
Instead of stepping down now, Al Franken should have said he would be only to happy to step down as soon as Donald Trump and Roy Moore stepped down.

Exactly! The Pussy-Groper-in -chief needs to step down NOW!!! And the dighusting child molestor / pedophile Moore needs to withdraw!!!LOCK THEM UP!!!!!
+18 # giraffee23 2017-12-07 15:50
Franken should wait until the Moore election completes and if the GOP doesn't request Moore to resign - well why should Franken?

It is almost a sure thing that Moore will not be asked to resign.

This dynamic makes the democrats look like chumps and worse, open to allowing Franken's Senate seat to be taken by a Republican.

So, THINK ahead Congress before making an irreversible mistake.
+5 # Allears 2017-12-07 15:53
In the Trump Kingdom, apparently sauce for the goose is never going to be sauce for the gander.
+8 # REDPILLED 2017-12-07 16:02
Blatant Hypocrisy, thy name is Republican.

And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” - John 8:7
+4 # elkingo 2017-12-07 17:28
Maybe Republicans are in some sense more sexually aggressive than Dems, more prone to flouting the rules. Acquisition, enterprise, self-gain running over others in the name of "fair" competition, reducing others (women) to products, being key sentiments or attitudes. Dems (supposedly) are more concerned (by heritage at least) with rights, civil and otherwise, the sanctity of the individual, labor laws etc. This is not meant to tar every person in each (indistinguisha ble) party - there are dirtbags and right guys in both. Just sayin'. A sight tinge of attitudinal difference?
+2 # Cassandra2012 2017-12-08 17:05
+16 # Wise woman 2017-12-07 17:55
McConnell`s own words, "I don't believe he can effectively serve the people of Minnesota in the US Senate any longer" referring to Al Franken, but Roy Moore and trump can serve their jurisdictions? Is McConnell schizophrenic? Abhorrent sexual behavior is taboo for dems but fine for repubs. A study of the mental health of repubs is in order.
+7 # bardphile 2017-12-07 18:55
Minn has a Dem governor who will name Franken's successor; if the gov had been repub, the pressure would be for him to stay right where he is (was). It's politics, with the prize being control of the Senate. The party of Bill Clinton (my party, alas) is taking the high ground on the harassment issue. Sheesh.
+9 # vicnada 2017-12-07 19:17
Whether Republicans have a change of heart? No need to guess. The Republican way is war. Any visage of political art disappeared during the Obama administration. They now exist solely to divide and conquer. Their race war, maintained by white supremacist overlords, coupled with male domination in their gender war are subsets of the class war for domination of the masses through complete financial control. So to suggest that they would condemn a shining example of their sub-scrotal Moore-ality is laughable.
+4 # pmargaret7 2017-12-08 09:12
Well put! I don't care how many stupid democratic senators told Franken he should resign - there is no reason he should leave if Trump gets to stay! There is a false equivalency between what Roy Moore and "our president" have done compared to Franken! Al Franken had no power over the women he supposedly "assaulted" while both Moore (age and position of D.A.) and Drump (age, owner of beauty contests, etc...) did! Power and control is the difference between sexual assault and stupid/juvenile prankishness. The first woman who accused Franken of grabbing her behind was from "Texas" and her husband was taking a picture of them, for Chrissake! There was no "power play" going on. We have all lost our p.c. minds if these 3 men are looked at as committing similar acts. FRANKEN - PLEASE RECONSIDER!!!
+9 # Salus Populi 2017-12-07 19:24
See William Boardman's article, also posted by RSN, and my comment there. Just as with the accusations regarding Putin, it seems that no investigation is needed, and a witch-hunt, lynching atmosphere better serves the ambitions of the congressweasels -- unfortunately, including those who should know better, such as Sanders, Wyden, and Gillibrand -- whose post in Facebook started the hue and cry -- than a judicious hearing before the Senate Ethics Committee, followed by appropriate punishment. Since Franken, unlike Moore, has been honest enough to admit some of the allegations, though he denies others, and has also been a leader in supporting women's rights in the Senate, it should not be too much of a stretch to give him his day in court. "Innocent until proven guilty" may only apply in formal court proceedings, if then, but lynch mobs ought to be beneath the dignity of the Millionaires' Club. [Also see the story at Medium linked in Boardman's piece.]
+8 # Adoregon 2017-12-07 20:45
Resident "grab 'em by the pussy" Rump, Roy "Daddie" Moore and "Bitch" McConnell give whores a bad name.
+4 # Darthvadersmom 2017-12-08 04:27
Instead of Keith, Dems replaced Al with a Corporate "interest.' They are so clueless and dead in the water.
+3 # Kootenay Coyote 2017-12-08 11:17
Perhaps the Repubicans are cautious because everyone knows there’s a Big Orange Target waiting for his own indictments.
+1 # kyzipster 2017-12-08 11:45
To understand the flip flopping of Republicans with regard to Moore, all a person has to do is pay attention to their media. Whenever a big scandal blows up, they just have to wait until the talking heads at Fox News and the rest explain it away to the base and this determines what position their politicians will take. A few of them jumped the gun on Moore by condemning him, they didn't give Fox News time to catch up.

If the media was claiming that every accusation against Franken was 100% false like with Moore, he may not be resigning so quickly. The rest of the media, outside of the blatant GOP propaganda machine, doesn't work that way.

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