One Democratic senator says embattled Minnesota Sen. Al Franken, who announced he would resign earlier in December, was mistreated by his colleagues.
“What they did to Al was atrocious, the Democrats,” West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin said in an interview on Politico‘s Off Message podcast. “The most hypocritical thing I’ve ever seen done to a human being.”
Franken stepped down after facing a flood of calls for his resignation, led by a group of Democratic women. He has been accused of groping or trying to forcibly kiss several women.
Sen. Franken disputes many of the claims, but announced he would resign on Dec. 7 though he has not officially left office. His successor, Lt. Gov. Tina Smith, was named by the Minnesota governor last week.
Manchin was one of few Democrat who did not urge Franken to leave the Senate. In the interview with Politico, the West Virginia Democrat said seeing his colleagues hug Franken after his resignation speech on the Senate floor “made me sick.”
“That’s hypocrisy at the highest level I’ve ever seen in my life,” he said. ” I think it’s atrocious. We ran a good person off.”
Manchin noted that Franken was willing to go through Congress’ ethics investigation process and deal with whatever consequences came of that before he was urged to leave. The Democrat said he hopes Franken does not ultimately resign.
“I hope they have enough guts. If they had enough guts and enough conscience and enough heart to say, ‘Al, we made a mistake asking prematurely for you to leave,” Manchin said of his colleagues.
According to Politico, some other Senators have begun to question whether or not they made a mistake in calling for Franken to resign the way that they did — though not all Democrats are having second thoughts.
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