On Thursday morning, newscaster Leann Tweeden revealed a compromising photo of Minnesota Senator, Al Franken, engaging in misconduct with her while on tour when she was sleeping in 2006. The newscaster also shared that Mr. Franken had forcibly kissed her without her consent during a rehearsal for a skit during the same time. The Senator immediately issued an apology and shared his version of the story while also calling for an ethics investigation into the accusations against himself. The story that was shared via Twitter has made headlines all over the country, leading multiple Republicans and Democrats to condemn his actions.
On Friday, however, after President Donald Trump tweeted criticism of “Al Frankenstein”, the focus of the spotlight has shifted from the senators wrongdoing to the silence from the President on his own past misconduct.
President Trump, right before the election in October 2016, scurried to regain his chance for the White House after an Access Hollywood video with Billy Bush was released in which he boasted about kissing and grabbing women without their consent. An excerpt of the conversation, from the transcript of the conversation via the New York Times, shows the lewd comments made.
Trump: Yeah, that’s her. With the gold. I better use some Tic Tacs just in case I start kissing her. You know, I’m automatically attracted to beautiful — I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.
Bush: Whatever you want.
Trump: Grab ’em by the pussy. You can do anything.
The release of the video generated cries of outrage followed by at least 16 women alleging sexual misconduct against him. Donald Trump issued a public statement, calling his comments “Locker room talk” and then proceeded to win the the Presidential election. His sharp criticism of the Minnesota Senator this week has caused the video and past allegations to resurface, with many questioning why Senators are being asked to step out of their positions while Donald Trump has had no repercussions and remained notably silent about his own previous allegations.
The question of how sexual misconduct allegations should be handled of figures in public office has been a large topic of debate since the Republican Senate nominee, Roy Moore, was accused of sexual misconduct with underage women. Mr. Moore has been accused of this misconduct by 8 women while being accused of dating underage women under the age of 18 while he was a district attorney. After allegations of Mr. Franken were released, a line started to be drawn between the two Congressman as well as the President due to difference in the nature of their actions. Mr. Franken, although wrong in his actions, is being looked at by the public in many ways as having a moment of bad judgement as the incident was said to be isolated and meant as a humorous joke. Mr. Moore and Mr. Trump, however, had numerous accounts of sexual misconduct of women which shows a pattern of mistreatment towards women. The President, who has focused on Mr, Franken’s allegations, has not yet addressed the circling concerns of his actions and continues to remain silent about Mr.Moore.