ORTONVILLE, M.N. Minnesota Senator Al Franken announced his resignation Thursday morning amid multiple allegations of sexual misconduct. Franken says he will step down in the coming weeks. It's an announcement that happened after a flood of Democratic colleagues called on him to do so.
The Office of Al Franken
Today, he stopped short of apologizing saying that some of the allegations were simply not true and that he remembered others differently. He also calls his decision ironic and turning the spotlight on President Trump and Alabama Republican Senate Candidate Roy Moore.
"I, of all people, am aware that there is some irony in the fact that I am leaving. While a man who has bragged on tape about his history of sexual assault sits in the Oval Office and a man who has repeatedly preyed on young girls campaigns for the Senate with the full support of his party," Franken said.
Franken says the decision is not about him, but about the people of Minnesota. KSFY's Kayleigh Schmidt spoke with two Minnesotans in Ortonville Thursday afternoon about his resignation.
Everyone around town that talked to Schmidt all have mixed feelings about Franken's resignation.
One local said he was happy because women are finally being listened to.
"We are so overdue for this and so any of the consequences that happen are good," Ortonville Resident Lee Kanten said.
Another wished Franken would've made a deal before resigning.
"If he goes then he should've made it dependent on both Clarence Thomas and our president for resigning," Ortonville Resident John White said.
Kanten hopes that others will now be held to the same standards that Franken was.
"We're about to elect a pedophile in Alabama. [It] just absolutely saddens me and it diminishes what voice the women need heard," Kanten said.
"It didn't happen while he was actually in office, but yeah it's sad. I think we've lost a really good spokesman for our important issues that are facing the Senate and a nation overall," White said.
One Northern State University professor thought Franken's speech was overall good, except for his statements about President Trump and Roy Moore.
"He still doesn't really wanna take responsibility it seems to me for his situation, and so in that sense, I think the speech was ill-advised, that part of the speech was ill-advised," NSU Political Science Professor Dr. Kenneth Blanchard said.
Dr. Blanchard also compared Franken's resignation to President Richard Nixon's after the Watergate scandal.
"Republicans from both houses of Congress came to him and sat down and said, 'don't put us through this, you've just gotta go' and that's what ultimately pushed Nixon to resign, the only President we've ever had resign," Dr. Blanchard said.
He also believes that the pressure from Franken's peers might've been too much after allegations continued to show up.
"Most recent story of apparently forced kissing, that was the straw that broke the camel's back," Dr. Blanchard said.
Dr. Blanchard and the two Minnesota residents that I spoke with all think this upcoming legislative session for the state and the nation will be interesting.
Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton released a statement following the announcement:
"I extend my deepest regrets to the women, who have had to endure their unwanted experiences with Senator Franken. As a personal friend, my heart also goes out to Al and his family during this difficult time."
Lieutenant Governor Tina Smith also released a statement:
"Now, it is on all of us to come together and make the progress necessary to live up to the values we believe in. Governor Dayton and I remain committed to ensuring that Minnesota is a place where everyone has the opportunity to realize their full potential."