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 Elizabeth GillibrandOvernight Energy: Gillibrand offers bill to ban pesticide from school lunches | Interior secretary met tribal lawyer tied to Zinke casino dispute | Critics say EPA rule could reintroduce asbestos use Trump says he'd like to run against Buttigieg Gillibrand introduces bill to ban harmful pesticide from school lunch MORE (D-N.Y.) defended her calls for former Sen. Al FrankenAlan (Al) Stuart FrankenWinners and losers from first fundraising quarter Election analyst says Gillibrand doesn't have 'horsepower to go the full distance' Gillibrand campaign links low fundraising to Al Franken backlash: memo 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 SmithHillicon Valley: Washington preps for Mueller report | Barr to hold Thursday presser | Lawmakers dive into AI ethics | FCC chair moves to block China Mobile | Dem bill targets 'digital divide' | Microsoft denies request for facial recognition tech Dems introduce bill to tackle 'digital divide' The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump, Dems prep for Mueller report's release MORE (D-Minn.), was sworn in last January and will face an election for a full term in 2020.