Earlier today, former sports broadcaster and current morning radio news anchor Leanne Tweeden wrote that Senator Al Franken had sexually assaulted her while they were on a USO tour in 2006. Franken initially responded by telling reporters that he couldn’t remember the incident, but he apologized. As for the photo in which he appears to be groping a sleeping Tweeden on a flight, the sitting senator said it was “intended to be funny, but wasn’t.” That brief response didn’t sound especially remorseful, so Franken has given it another shot.
You can read the full statement above, but Franken not only calls for an ethics investigation on himself and promises to fully cooperate, but he writes that he is sorry a couple of times. And he also notes the importance of impact over intent when discussing the photo that so upset Tweeden. We’re in no rush to sweep this under the rug, but at least Franken has shown how to issue an apology in these circumstances.
UPDATE, 5:05 p.m.: According to The Hill, Tweeden says she has accepted Franken’s apology, saying, “The apology, sure I accept it, yes. People make mistakes, and of course he knew he made a mistake ... There’s no reason why I shouldn’t accept his apology.” She added that she wasn’t “looking for anything” when she wrote her essay about being groped by Franken on a USO tour in 2006, but if an ethics investigation is “what Mitch McConnell wants to do, that’s on them. I’m not calling for that.” She added that she’s not calling for Franken’s resignation, unless other women come forward, saying, “I’m not calling for him to step down. That’s not my place to say that.”