Al Franken has an important former ally in his corner regarding a potential return to the U.S. Senate.
The former Democratic senator from Minnesota resigned in 2016 amid allegations that he acted in an inappropriate manner with women, but has recently said he regrets the decision. Now, the former lead Democrat in the U.S. Senate has joined in.
In an interview with The Daily Beast, former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said he wishes that Franken would make another run for public office.
“I wish he would,” said Reid, who served with Franken for 10 years. “But I don’t think he will. He just feels hurt. And he was a good senator.”
As the report noted, Reid has been open in his belief that Franken was unfairly pushed out of his Senate seat, saying he got a “bad deal.”
As a number of women came forward to claim that Franken had acted inappropriately, there were calls from members of his own caucus for Franken to resign. Though he and others initially called for an investigation into the claims, Franken ended up pre-emptively resigning his position.
Many of those who called for his resignation have also expressed regret at hastily calling on him to leave the U.S. Senate, The Washington Post reported. The scandal took place during the height of the 2016 presidential campaign, a time when many Democrats were harping on Donald Trump’s history of sexual misconduct allegations, and some called for Democrats to hold themselves to a higher standard than the Republicans supporting Trump. But others, including New York Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, stand by the decision to call on Franken to resign.
At the time of his resignation, Franken was seen by many as a potential presidential candidate in 2020.
— The Hill (@thehill) August 7, 2019
As The Daily Beast noted, Harry Reid is one of the few actually advocating for Al Franken to run for office again. Franken himself has expressed regret about leaving so hastily, saying that he felt trapped and made a rushed decision. He continues to clarify that the incident in question, which happened during a 2006 USO tour, took place within “the context of the goofing around everybody had been doing.”
“I was in shock, and I wasn’t thinking as clearly as I should have,” Franken told The New Yorker. “You feel very trapped. And the press was just reporting it as she said it.”
While he does express regret at leaving the U.S. Senate, Al Franken has not given any indication that he may run for office again.