The panel discussed the topic Tuesday after Franken, 68, told The New Yorker in a story published Monday that he “absolutely” regrets bowing to pressure from other Democrats to resign before a Senate Ethics Committee could investigate the allegations of sexual misconduct leveled against him.
“I’ve said before that I thought he needed due process. He just left,” said Joy Behar. “The guy was just forced to resign.”
FRANKEN UNFAIRLY PUSHED OUT? Former Sen. Al Franken spoke out in a new interview that he “absolutely” regrets resigning from the Senate after several women accused him of unwanted kissing or touching — the co-hosts discuss if he should have resigned. https://t.co/T7mdpCWAbv pic.twitter.com/IgyeA0NLZp— The View (@TheView) July 23, 2019
Franken was accused of inappropriately touching eight women, including Leeann Tweeden, a morning news anchor on KABC radio in Los Angeles, who alleged that Franken groped and forcibly kissed her during a USO tour in 2006 before he became a senator. During his resignation, Franken apologized for his inappropriate behavior, which he said was unintentional but “crossed a line” for some women.
On The View, Behar, 76, called Tweeden’s allegations into question.
“It doesn’t mean that I’m saying she’s lying,” she said. “But there are some holes in her story which should have come out.”
But Meghan McCain, who is a friend of Tweeden’s, took issue with the fact that the New Yorker piece focuses mostly on Tweeden’s allegations, not the seven other women’s.
“The problem with [Franken] staying in office is, imagine him questioning Brett Kavanaugh,” continued McCain, 34. “It would be very uncomfortable for Democrats if Al Franken was sitting there questioning Brett Kavanaugh. … I don’t think that #MeToo and sexual assault should be about which party you vote in the general election.”
Behar countered the argument by comparing Franken to Joe Biden, who has also been accused of inappropriate touching.
“According to [Franken], those allegations were part of his personality, the way Biden has been able to get out of those accusations,” she said. “This is the same thing that Biden says, and you’re okay with that.”
“But I wouldn’t compare his allegations to Biden’s,” McCain insisted. “No woman that I’m aware of has accused Joe Biden of … forcing himself kissing her. There are also no pictures of Joe Biden putting his hands on a woman’s breast, that I’m aware of.” (Tweeden also released a photo showing Franken, who was then a comedian, pretending to fondle her breasts as she slept in a flak jacket while on a military aircraft during the USO tour.)
“She was wearing a flak jacket,” Behar fired back. “The problem with that was she was sleeping and he admits that was wrong. He was nowhere near her actual breasts.”
Ultimately, the panel agreed that the Ethics Committee should have completed an investigation into the allegations.
“Due process, to me, is a must,” said moderator Whoopi Goldberg. “Unless we have due process in this country, we will be facing stuff that you can’t even imagine.”
The View airs weekdays (11 a.m. ET) on ABC.