Franken urges senators to 'stand up for truth' in final floor speech

Outgoing Sen. Al FrankenAlan (Al) Stuart FrankenAl Franken blasts Susan Collins: She'll let Trump 'get away with anything' Bill Press: Don't forget about Amy Key moments in the 2020 Democratic presidential race so far MORE (D-Minn.) took a parting shot at President TrumpDonald John TrumpSchiff blasts Trump for making 'false claims' about Russia intel: 'You've betrayed America. Again.' Poll: Sanders leads 2020 Democratic field with 28 percent, followed by Warren and Biden More than 6 in 10 expect Trump to be reelected: poll MORE and the rhetoric of the GOP on Wednesday as he delivered his final speech from the Senate floor.

Franken ran through a litany of policies — including the newly passed tax bill, ObamaCare and climate change — where he said the Trump administration's positions are at odds with what's best for most Americans. 

"The values being advanced by the president and his allies in Congress simply don't represent my belief that our economy, our democracy and our country works best when they work for everyone," Franken said.


The GOP agenda, he said, is about "consolidating political [and] economic power in the hands of corporations and the very wealthy." 

He questioned whether senators were "losing the war on truth." 

"Who will stand up and fight for more honest debate? ... I hope that my colleagues on the other side of the aisle will stand up for truth," he said. 

Franken, who is resigning from Congress after a number of women accused him of forcibly kissing or groping them, had initially said on Wednesday that he would give a "a series of final speeches" before leaving office. But he appeared to backpedal on Thursday, saying his remarks would be his final speech from the floor. 

The Senate could wrap up its work for the year as soon as Thursday. Franken will formally resign on Jan. 2. 

Franken used the speech to express worry about the direction of the country, saying "there's something wrong with the way that we are arguing" and urging Americans to become more informed about current events. 


"It started long before 2016. Lurking behind each of those issues isn't just a difference of opinion or a different of values. There's something far worse, a lie," he said. 

Nearly 30 Democratic senators sat and listened to Franken's speech from their desks on the floor. 

Franken also gave a shout-out to Sen. Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderBill Barr is trying his best to be Trump's Roy Cohn The Trump administration's harmful and immoral attack on children Democrats worried about Trump's growing strength MORE (R-Tenn.) and thanked him for his work as chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. 

"I've learned from Republicans. I learned to respect, if not always agree, with their opinions and learned how their backgrounds can lead them to reach, in good faith, a conclusion I could never have imagined," he said. 

Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharPoll: Sanders leads 2020 Democratic field with 28 percent, followed by Warren and Biden Sanders has wide leads in two of three battleground states: survey Democrats: It's Trump's world, and we're just living in it MORE (D-Minn.) praised Franken after his speech, saying he "defied expectations" when he joined the Senate. 

"I think that last call of action that he left us with ... the truth in what we do and truth in politics is something that no one should forget in this chamber. It is one way that Al's work will live on," she said. 

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton (D) has appointed Lt. Gov. Tina Smith (D) to fill Franken's seat next year.