Franken holds press conference to ‘take responsibility’ for sexual-harassment accusations, refuses to resign

  • Sen. Al Franken said he was “trying to take responsibility by apologizing” to the women who have accused him of groping or forcibly kissing them.
  • The Minnesota Democrat is refusing to resign and said he could not speculate about whether other women would come forward with new allegations against him.

Sen. Al Franken held a short press conference on Monday afternoon to address accusations of sexual misconduct against him made by several women in recent weeks.

The Minnesota Democrat said that he was “tremendously sorry” for causing the women to feel disrespected and that he had been “trying to take responsibility by apologizing.”

“I know that I’ve let a lot of people down,” he said, adding that he would work to rebuild trust with Minnesotans as well as his staff and colleagues.

Asked whether he thought he would face more allegations of inappropriate conduct, the senator said he could not speculate about that.

“If you had asked me two weeks ago would any woman come forward with an allegation like this, I would have said ‘no,'” Franken said. “And so I cannot speculate. This has been a shock and has been extremely humbling.”

Four women have publicly accused Franken of misconduct. Three say he groped their buttocks while posing for photos with them.

Franken said he didn’t remember those instances, arguing that he takes “thousands” of photos with constituents.

One woman, a Los Angeles TV and radio host named Leeann Tweeden, two weeks ago accused Franken of forcibly kissing and groping her during a tour performing for military service members abroad in 2006, when Franken was a professional comedian.

Franken has apologised to Tweeden, though he said he remembered the incident differently.

Franken refused to resign as a senator but said he would “cooperate completely” with any investigation by the Senate Ethics Committee into his past behaviour.

“I know that I am going to have to be much more conscious in these circumstances – much more careful, much more sensitive,” Franken said on Monday. “It’s going to take a long time for me to regain people’s trust, but I hope that starting work today that I can start to do that.”

Watch a clip of the briefing: