At least four senators are urging Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) to reconsider resigning amid sexual misconduct allegations against him, according to Politico.
Politico on Monday reported that two of the senators issued calls for Franken to step down amid the accusations two weeks ago.
“What they did to Al was atrocious, the Democrats,” Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) said in an interview for Politico’s “Off Message” podcast coming Tuesday.
“[It’s] the most hypocritical thing I’ve ever seen done to a human being – and then [to] have enough guts to sit on the floor, watch him give his speech and go over and hug him?” Manchin asked. “That’s hypocrisy at the highest level I’ve ever seen in my life. Made me sick.”
“I hope they have enough guts … and enough conscience and enough heart to say, ‘Al, we made a mistake asking prematurely for you to leave.’”
Two people familiar with the conversation on Monday told Politico that Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) has privately told Franken he regrets calling for the latter’s resignation earlier this month.
“I think we acted prematurely, before we had all the facts,” said a third senator who once called for Franken’s exit and has since told him he regrets doing so. “In retrospect, I think we acted too fast.”
Sen. James Lankford (R-OK) believes that Franken should have undergone a Senate Ethics Committee investigation into his behavior before departing.
Franken announced earlier this month that he would resign “in the coming weeks” following multiple women accusing him of sexual misconduct.
People familiar with Franken’s thinking on Monday told Politico that he has not reversed course and intends on formally leaving the Senate in early January.
Gov. Mark Dayton (D) last week named his lieutenant governor as Minnesota’s replacement for Franken.
Franken has since praised the choice of Tina Smith and has starting helping her on the transition.
Multiple women accused Franken of groping or kissing them without permission in the past after the first claims against him emerged last month.
Smith said last week that she plans on campaigning in November 2018 to finish the remaining two years of Franken’s Senate term.