Minnesota Senator Al Franken is scheduled to deliver a speech late Thursday morning on the Senate floor to seemingly address calls for his resignation by fellow Democrats and Republicans amid allegations of sexual misconduct.
The senator’s official Twitter account announced the speech Thursday morning. He is expected to address his fellow lawmakers at 11:45 a.m. Eastern time.
The speech will be live streamed and shown on C-SPAN2. You can watch the speech live here.
Reports Wednesday claimed Franken planned to resign, but his office pushed back and stated he had not reached a final decision. But that denial came hours before the announcement of Franken’s speech.
Democratic leaders, en masse, called for Franken to step down or resign Wednesday, a sign he had lost support within his party and the Senate.
Over the last month, the former comedian, Saturday Night Live writer and likely 2020 presidential candidate, has faced accusations of attempting to forcibly kiss women and grope women both before and after he took office in 2009.
All together, seven women have made allegations against Franken. The seventh, whose name was not disclosed, came forward Wednesday and described an incident in 2006 after a taping of his radio show, according to Politico.
The woman said she turned around only to find Franken standing before her and trying to kiss her.
“It’s my right as an entertainer,” the woman claimed Franken said. “He was between me and the door, and he was coming at me to kiss me. It was very quick, and I think my brain had to work really hard to be like ‘Wait, what is happening?’ But I knew whatever was happening was not right, and I ducked,” the former aide said in an interview. “I was really startled by it, and I just sort of booked it towards the door, and he said, ‘It’s my right as an entertainer.’”
The comment reminded some of President Trump's own boast on the infamous Access Hollywood tape, on which the then-businessman and reality show star boasted of being allowed to grab women "by the pussy" because of who he is. Ironically, Franken had criticized Trump for the comment.
The latest allegation against Franken came as Washington lawmakers deal with ongoing scandals involving sexual harassment claims and taxpayer funds used to pay out settlements.
Facing mounting pressure from his colleagues, Michigan Democrat and Rep. John Conyers Jr. resigned Tuesday as former female staff members came forward with claims of sexual harassment.
Franken initially stated last month he would comply with an ethics investigation after a Los Angeles radio host and former model claimed he tried to forcibly kiss her and groped her while she slept on a flight back from a USO tour in 2006.
Host Leeann Tweeden released a picture showing Franken placing his hands on her breasts. Franken issued an apology and Tweeden said she accepted it, but more reports of alleged impropriety against Franken surfaced thereafter.
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