U.S. Sen. Al Franken broke his self-imposed silence over the weekend, submitting to a series of media interviews on the sexual misconduct allegations against him, professing his shame and embarrassment. You can read them, but the issue remains the same: Franken acknowledges that he is unaware he is assaulting women. "I am very sorry if these women experienced that", Franken said.
"I know there are no magic words I can say to regain your trust and that it's going to take time", he said at a news conference. "I'm going to be accountable by going through the process of the Ethics Committee, and I'm going to work as hard as I can to win back the trust of so many people, of so many people that I love in Minnesota". I'm going to fight this tax cut. "This has been a shock and it's been extremely humbling. I know that that is going to take time". Tweeden also posted a photo showing Franken grabbing at her breasts as she slept.
"I am embarrassed. I feel ashamed", Franken said. "And so I apologized to her and I meant it".
On Monday, however, Franken appeared dour and uncomfortable as he addressed reporters in front of his office in the Hart Senate Office Building. "I certainly hope not". Al Franken of groping them have told similar accounts of the alleged incidents, while the fourth presented photographic evidence. She claimed Franken, now Minnesota's junior Democratic senator, groped her while she was sleeping aboard a military plane on her way home from a USO tour in 2006.
Senator Franken is not up for re-election until 2020, more than two years away.
Murphy pressed Franken about several allegations he inappropriately touched women's butts while posing for photos.
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Then came another general expression of regret that camouflaged an unwillingness to admit misconduct: "From these stories, it's been clear that there are some women - and one is too many - who feel that I have done something disrespectful and that has hurt them, and for that I am tremendously sorry".
"I can understand how some people would see it that way", he replied. "I've thought a lot in recent days about how that could happen, and recognize that I need to be much more careful and sensitive in these situations".
Franken said in an interview with local CBS affiliate WCCO on Sunday that he couldn't remember if he had grabbed women's buttocks during photo ops at the Minnesota State Fair, as Lindsay Menz said he did in 2010, and that he wasn't sure whether there would be more groping allegations against him.
Franken said he does not remember "these particular photos", explaining "I take thousands of photos". "I can't say that I haven't done that". So this has just caught me by surprise.
"Democrats and Republicans are divided over this, but this is going to affect Franken's ability to be effective, at least in the short term", Pearson said.