In a speech on the Senate floor Thursday, Franken announced that he “will be resigning as a member of the United States Senate.”
“I know in my heart that nothing I have done as a senator, nothing, has brought dishonor on this institution, and I am confident that the Ethics Committee would agree. Nevertheless, today I am announcing that in the coming weeks, I will be resigning as a member of the United States Senate,” Franken said.
The comedian-turned-lawmaker added that “some of the allegations against me are simply not true. Others I remember very differently.”
He also used his speech to acknowledge what he called the “irony” that he’s “leaving while a man who has bragged on tape about his history of sexual assault sits in the Oval Office.”
Watch the speech below.
“Serving in the United States Senate has been the great honor of my life,” Franken said. “Today, I am announcing that in the coming weeks, I will be resigning as a member of the United States Senate.”
Ahead of Franken announcing plans to step down, several Democratic lawmakers called for the comedian-turned-lawmaker to resign after another woman stepped forward and claimed that the Minnesota senator tried to forcibly kiss her — an accusation that rang eerily similar to radio host and former model Leeann Tweeden’s first bombshell claim that Franken gave her an unwanted kiss during a rehearsal.
By noon on Wednesday, six female Democratic lawmakers — Sens. Claire McCaskill (Mo.), Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.), Mazie Hirono (Hawaii), Maggie Hassan (N.H.), Kamala Harris (Calif.), and Patty Murray (Wash.) — had all demanded Franken leave Congress:
As elected officials, we should be held to the highest standards—not the lowest. The allegations against Sen. Franken describe behavior that cannot be tolerated. While he’s entitled to an Ethics Committee hearing, I believe he should step aside to let someone else serve.
As the accusations against Franken continued to pile up, the senator released numerous apologizes before ultimately stepping down this week. “I’ve met tens of thousands of people and taken thousands of photographs,” Franken wrote in a statement before he returned to Congress in November. “I’m a warm person; I hug people.”
Franken explained that he’s “learned from recent stories” that his behavior during some of those encounters “crossed a line for some women — and I know that any number is too many.”
The Minnesota senator joined Congress following a successful career in comedy, which included a stint on “Saturday Night Live,” in 2009. He was re-elected to a second term in 2014.