Democratic senator says reporters ‘need to find something more interesting’ when asked about Al Franken allegations

Sheldon Whitehouse
Sheldon Whitehouse. Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Democratic Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island told reporters Thursday that they needed to “find something more interesting” when they asked him about sexual misconduct allegations levied against Democratic Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota.

“You guys need to find something more interesting,” he said, according to ABC News.

Franken is under intense scrutiny after a Los Angeles broadcaster, Leeann Tweeden, alleged that he kissed and groped her without her consent during a 2006 United Service Organisations tour in Iraq. Her column detailing the incident was complete with a photograph of Franken reaching for her breasts while she was asleep.

Franken, in a statement, said he “shouldn’t have done it.”

“I certainly don’t remember the rehearsal for the skit in the same way, but I send my sincerest apologies to Leeann,” he wrote. “As to the photo, it was clearly intended to be funny but wasn’t. I shouldn’t have done it.”

In a subsequent statement, Franken offered a more in-depth apology.

“Coming from the world of comedy, I’ve told and written a lot of jokes that I once thought were funny but later came to realise were just plain offensive,” he said. “But the intentions behind my actions aren’t the point at all. It’s the impact these jokes had on others that matters. And I’m sorry it’s taken me so long to come to terms with that.

“I am asking that an ethics investigation be undertaken, and I will gladly cooperate. And the truth is, what people think of me in light of this is far less important than what people think of women who continue to come forward to tell their stories. They deserve to be heard, and believed. And they deserve to know that I am their ally and supporter. I have let them down and am committed to making it up to them.”