Gillibrand defends calling for Franken to resign during stop in Iowa

Gillibrand defends calling for Franken to resign during stop in Iowa
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Sen. Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandMaloney primary challenger calls on her to return, donate previous campaign donations from Trump Senate confirms controversial circuit court nominee She Should Run launches initiative to expand number of women in political process MORE (D-N.Y.) defended her calls for former Sen. Al FrankenAlan (Al) Stuart FrankenTake Trump literally and seriously in Minnesota Ninth woman accuses Al Franken of inappropriate contact Al Franken to host SiriusXM radio show MORE's (D-Minn.) resignation last year during a campaign event in Iowa on Friday, explaining that the mounting allegations against her former colleague were too much for her to remain silent.

Gillibrand, who was the first senator to call for Franken's resignation, told an audience in Sioux City, Iowa that Franken's decision to resign was his own and that she believed she had a responsibility to speak out about the allegations, according to CNN.

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Franken resigned after multiple women came forward accusing the senator of inappropriate touching at various campaign events.

"Enough was enough," Gillibrand said, according to CNN. "Al Franken is entitled to whatever process wanted, if he wanted to say and wait six months for his ethics hearing. His decision was to resign. My decision was not to remain silent."

"You have to stand up for what's right, especially when it's hard," she continued. "And if you create a pass because you love someone, or you like someone, or admire someone, or they're part of your team, it's not OK, it's just not, and I feel strongly about it and it's painful. It's painful for me. It's painful for a lot of us."

Some Democrats have rankled at Franken's ouster last year, arguing that the Minnesota Democrat never faced an investigation into the accusations he faced. Others have praised Gillibrand for sticking up for the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements against sexual misconduct and abuse in the halls of Congress.

During the Sioux City appearance, Gillibrand reportedly discussed how she explained to her young son the importance of consent during the Franken controversy.

"And I had to be very clear as a mother, 'It not OK to grope a woman anywhere on her body without her consent,' " Gillibrand told the audience, according to CNN. "'It is not OK to forcibly kiss a woman without her consent. It is not OK for Al Franken and it is not OK for you.' And I could not be ambiguous about that."

Franken's successor, Sen. Tina SmithTina Flint SmithDemocrats will win back the Senate majority in 2020, all thanks to President Trump On The Money: Fed faces crossroads as it weighs third rate cut | Dem presses Mnuchin on 'alleged rampant corruption' | Boeing chief faces anger at hearing | Trouble for House deal on Ex-Im Bank Democrats renew push for contractor back pay from government shutdown MORE (D-Minn.), was sworn in last January and will face an election for a full term in 2020.