1. U.S. Senator and Democratic Presidential candidate Kirsten Gillibrand approaches reporters
2. SOUNDBITE (English) Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, (D) Presidential candidate:
"Senator Franken wasn't denied anything. It's his decision and his alone whether to wait out his ethics committee hearing, whether to wait for his next election. The decision I made is whether or not to carry his water and stay silent. And given eight allegations, two since he was senator and the eighth one being a congressional staffer, I couldn't stay silent. And I could have told my colleagues then that there is no prize for standing up to a powerful man and trying to hold him accountable when he's good at his day job. I could have told him then and I'd tell him now. But you have to the courage to do it and say what you believe anyway."
3. SOUNDBITE (English) Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, (D) Presidential candidate:
"There was 34 other Senators that called on him to resign. You wouldn't know that today, given that I seem to stand alone. But I could not stay silent. I could not defend his actions. And to somehow blame me for a man's actions and a man's decision, it's pretty absurd."
4. SOUNDBITE (English) Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, (D) Presidential candidate:
"And after eight allegations, two since he was a senator and one from a congressional staffer. I couldn't in good conscience continue to stay silent. It's not possible as the woman who's been leading these movements of sexual violence in the military, and sexual assault on college campuses, and the one who actually authored the bill that ultimately passed to change how we deal with sexual harassment in Congress not with. Congress."
Democratic presidential candidate Kirsten Gillibrand said Monday that she doesn't regret calling for Al Franken's resignation from the Senate and that female senators are being blamed for it in a way their male colleagues are not.
In an interview with The New Yorker magazine published Monday, Franken, a Minnesota Democrat, said he "absolutely" regrets resigning in January 2018, after Gillibrand, a senator from New York, and many of his fellow Democratic colleagues urged him to do so in the wake of a series of sexual misconduct accusations.
Gillibrand had for years described Franken as a friend and frequent squash partner, but she became the first Democratic senator to call for his resignation in December 2017. She's one of the Senate's most outspoken members on issues of sexual harassment and military sexual assault and has made advancing equal pay for women, paid family leave and defense of abortion rights centerpieces of her 2020 White House campaign.
Asked after Monday's event if she's been hurt in the presidential race in a way that other senators seeking the White House haven't, Gillibrand noted that others called for Franken's resignation but "you wouldn't know that today, given that I seemed to stand alone."
Although many of her Senate colleagues now also seeking the Democratic presidential nomination - including Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Cory Booker of New Jersey, Kamala Harris of California and Bernie Sanders of Vermont - followed her lead in calling for Franken to step down, Gillibrand has continually faced more questions than others about being too quick to condemn him.
General elections , United States presidential election , Government and politics , Political resignations , Legislature , Political scandals , Political issues , 2020 United States presidential election , United States general election , 2020 United States presidential election , Presidential elections , National elections , Elections
Al Franken , Kirsten Gillibrand , Bernie Sanders , Cory Booker , Elizabeth Warren , Kamala Harris
United States Senate, United States Congress, United States government