Trump Slams Al Franken for “Really Bad” Groping Photo, Remains Silent on Roy Moore

The president has been dogged by his own sexual harassment allegations.

Ting Shen/ZUMA

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President Donald Trump, who faced a long string of sexual harassment allegations during the 2016 election, swiftly denounced Sen. Al Franken less than one day after a woman accused the senator of forcibly kissing and groping her in 2006. 

Trump’s Thursday tweets came amid his deafening silence regarding Roy Moore, the Republican Senate candidate in Alabama, more than a week after the Washington Post first published multiple accounts from women who say when they were teenagers they were sexually assaulted or pursued by Moore while he was in his 30s.

On Thursday morning, broadcaster Leeann Tweeden published a story accusing Franken of forcibly kissing and groping her during a 2006 USO tour the two performed in together. She also provided a photo that showed a smiling Franken reaching to grab her breasts while she was asleep on a plane. 

In his tweets, Trump focused on the photographic evidence against Franken, suggesting that perhaps worse photos exist. Critics seized on the moment to bring up the infamous Access Hollywood recording that captured Trump in 2005 bragging about forcibly grabbing a woman’s “pussy.”

After initially issuing a brief statement apologizing for the incident, Franken on Thursday later released a longer statement saying that he respected women and that he was “disgusted” with himself over the photo.

“While I don’t remember the rehearsal for the skit as Leeann does, I understand why we need to listen to and believe women’s experiences,” he wrote. “I am asking that an ethics investigation be undertaken, and I will gladly cooperate.”

Trump has resisted pressure to denounce Moore, even as more women have come forward to the Post and other outlets with similar accounts. As for his own charges of sexual assault, Trump has vigorously denied every one of them.

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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