Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is calling on the Senate’s ethics committee to review groping allegations against Minnesota Democratic Sen. Al Franken, after a radio anchor said he kissed and groped her without her consent more than a decade ago.
“As with all credible allegations of sexual harassment or assault, I believe the Ethics Committee should review the matter,” McConnell said in a statement Thursday. “I hope the Democratic Leader [Chuck Schumer] will join me on this. Regardless of party, harassment and assault are completely unacceptable—in the workplace or anywhere else.”
Schumer took to Twitter shortly thereafter to call for an investigation. “Sexual harassment is never acceptable and must not be tolerated,” he wrote. “I hope and expect that the Ethics Committee will fully investigate this troubling incident, as they should with any credible allegation of sexual harassment.”
Franken, in a statement released Thursday, said he is asking for and will fully cooperate with an ethics investigation.
Earlier Thursday, Leeann Tweeden wrote a post on the website of her radio station, 790 KABC, alleging that Franken kissed her without consent and later groped her breasts while she was asleep during a 2006 United Service Organizations tour in Afghanistan. She provided a photograph of the alleged incident.
“Every time I hear his voice or see his face, I am angry. I am angry that I did his stupid skit for the rest of that tour,” Tweeden wrote of her experience emceeing alongside then-comedian Franken. “I am angry that I didn’t call him out in front of everyone when I had the microphone in my hand every night after that.
“Someday, I thought to myself, I would tell my story,” she added. “That day is now. Senator Franken, you wrote the script. But there’s nothing funny about sexual assault.”
In a statement released Thursday, Franken apologized to Tweeden. He wrote:
On Monday, McConnell urged Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore, who is also battling sexual misconduct allegations, to “step aside.” McConnell doubled down on the sentiment a day later, telling reporters: “He’s obviously not fit to be in the United States Senate.”
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