Dem senator: 'Distraction' to call for Franken's resignation

Sen. Mazie HironoMazie Keiko HironoTrump tweets video mocking Dems not cheering during State of the Union New battle lines in war over Trump’s judicial picks Trump divides Democrats with warning of creeping socialism MORE (D-Hawaii) said Tuesday it is a "distraction" to call for Sen. Al FrankenAlan (Al) Stuart FrankenVirginia scandals pit Democrats against themselves and their message The Hill's Morning Report — Will Ralph Northam survive? Identity politics and the race for the Democratic nomination MORE’s (D-Minn.) resignation following allegations that he groped two women without their consent.

“I think that that is a distraction to be talking about resignation, because what’s really at the bottom of this whole issue of sexual harassment is that it is pervasive in our culture,” Hirono said on MSNBC's "MTP Daily."

Two women have accused Franken in the last week of groping them without their consent. Radio broadcaster Leeann Tweeden said Franken kissed and groped her while the two were on a USO tour in 2006, before Franken was elected.

Lindsay Menz on Monday alleged Franken groped her during a photo op in 2010.

Franken has apologized for both incidents and has agreed to cooperate with a Senate Ethics Committee investigation.

ADVERTISEMENT

Most lawmakers have called for an ethics investigation into Franken. Hirono said Tuesday she believes it’s appropriate to let the investigation play out. 

“I’m glad that this is coming to the fore now because myself and every woman that I know has endured sexual harassment of one sort or another,” Hirono said. 

“I hope that we’re reaching some kind of tipping point in our country that this kind of behavior not only is acknowledged but comes to an end,” she added.

She then attacked President Trump, who on Tuesday downplayed allegations of sexual misconduct against Alabama GOP Senate candidate Roy Moore.

“He denies it. He totally denies it,” Trump told reporters at the White House before leaving to Florida for Thanksgiving.

Trump himself was accused of sexual harassment during the presidential race and was caught on tape talking about groping women and kissing them without their consent. Trump has denied the allegations of harassment from multiple women.

“It’s not surprising to me that one liar is standing up for another liar," Hirono said Tuesday of Trump’s defense of Moore.