Al Franken is returning to work in the Senate today, more than a week after being accused of sexual assault. Shortly after that allegation came out, another woman came forward and claimed that Franken had groped her at the Minnesota State Fair during a photo op in 2010. Franken has been apologetic, even calling for an ethics investigation on himself, but he still isn’t sure if any other women may have accusations against him.
As reported by The Washington Post, Franken recently made an appearance on Minnesota Public Radio and explained that he has no idea if anyone else will accuse him of sexual harassment, because he didn’t realize he had done it at all until the initial accusations came out. When asked if more women might come forward, he responded with: “If you had said to me two weeks ago that a woman was going to say that I had made her uncomfortable and disrespected her…I would have said ‘no,’” adding, “So, you know, I don’t know. I can’t say.”
Franken explains that he’s “someone who, you know, hugs people,” and though he now understands that he has previously “crossed the line for some women,” he has taken photos at the State Fair “with thousands of people.” He adds that he “would never intentionally” grope someone during a photo op, but “we have to listen to women and respect what they say.” That kind of distances himself from the situation, saying that women should be believed but also that he didn’t necessarily do anything wrong, which is sort of like a spin on the classic “I’m sorry you were offended” non-apology.