Following allegations from multiple women (and photographic evidence of at least one) of sexual misconduct, Senator Al Franken returned to work today and told reporters he was “embarrassed” and “ashamed," while giving no indication that he would consider resigning.
“I am tremendously sorry,” the Minnesota Democrat, 66, told reporters at a news conference in Washington on Monday, repeating earlier apologies. “It’s going to take a long time for me to regain people’s trust.”
And in a somewhat odd statement of admission and contrition
“I know I’m going to have to be much more conscious in these circumstances, much more careful, much more sensitive, and that this will not happen again going forward."
Franken claimed he doesn't remember if he ever touched a woman inappropriately while photos were being taken.
Three women allege Franken grabbed their buttocks during separate incidents at campaign events. A fourth woman says Franken forcibly kissed her on a USO tour. However Franken said today that "one is too many" if women feel he was disrespectful.
In an interview aired by CBS Monday, Franken says:
"I take thousands and thousands of pictures, sometimes in chaotic and crowded situations. I can't say I haven't done that. I'm very sorry if these women experienced that."
Franken added today that he is "going to try to learn from my mistakes" and wants "to be someone who adds something to this conversation, and I hope I can do that"
When asked what the bar should be for someone in a position like his to resign, Franken declined to speculate.
* * *
One wonders if Conyers and Weinstein will now use the "learning from my mistakes... will be be more careful" argument going forward?