Record-Journal staff and wire reports
WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy Wednesday joined a growing number of Senators calling on Sen. Al Franken to resign from the chamber amid allegations of sexual misconduct.
Murphy, D-Connecticut, said in a statement that he expects Franken, D-Minnesota, to resign as early as Thursday.
"The increasing number of women coming forward suggests a pattern of repeated harassment and unacceptable behavior that is impossible to ignore,” Murhpy said in a statement. “(Sen.) Franken has denied some of these allegations and has the right to continue to seek a process through the Ethics Committee, but I believe the best course of action for him right now is to step down, as I expect he will do tomorrow."
Franken scheduled an announcement for Thursday, and while his office didn't specify the topic, Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., also said he expected Franken to resign at that time.
Franken's support in the Senate crumbled after another woman emerged saying he forcibly tried to kiss her in 2006, bringing to seven the number of women accusing him of sexual impropriety. More than a half dozen female Democratic senators and some men called on him to resign.
"I'm shocked and appalled by Sen. Franken's behavior," said Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash. "It's clear to me that this has been a deeply harmful, persistent problem and a clear pattern over a long period of time. It's time for him to step aside."
"Obviously, there were new allegations today, and enough is enough," Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., told reporters. "We need to draw a line in the sand and say none of it is OK, none of it is acceptable and we, as elected leaders, should absolutely be held to a higher standard."
Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., did not immediately comment.
The demands came in rapid succession after Franken on Wednesday vehemently denied a new sexual misconduct accusation that came from a former Democratic congressional aide, who said he tried to forcibly kiss her after a taping of his radio show in 2006.
The woman, who was not identified, told Politico that Franken pursued her after her boss had left and she was collecting her belongings. She said she ducked to avoid his lips, and that Franken told her: "It's my right as an entertainer."
Franken, in a statement, said the idea he would claim such conduct as a right as an entertainer was "preposterous."