Seven current and former US senators who called for the resignation of Al Franken in 2017 have said their actions were wrong.
The disgraced former Minnesota senator and ex-Saturday Night Live star resigned amid huge pressure, including from his own party, after he was accused by eight women of groping or forcibly trying to kiss them at the height of the #MeToo scandal.
More than a year and a half on, the Vermont senator Patrick Leahy, former North Dakota senator Heidi Heitkamp, Illinois senator Tammy Duckworth, Maine senator Angus King, Oregon senator Jeff Merkley, former Florida senator Bill Nelson and New Mexico senator Tom Udall all told the New Yorker they have regrets about the way the allegations were handled.
Leahy, who was first elected to the Senate 45 years ago, told the magazine that calling for Franken’s departure was “one of the biggest mistakes I’ve made”.
Heitkamp said: “If there’s one decision I’ve made that I would take back, it’s the decision to call for his resignation. It was made in the heat of the moment, without concern for exactly what this was.”
Duckworth said the Senate ethics committee “should have been allowed to move forward”.
In a tearful interview with the magazine, in which he said he has suffered from depression, the 68-year-old Franken said he “absolutely” regrets resigning and believes he should have appeared in front of an ethics committee hearing.
Franken said: “I’m angry at my colleagues who did this. I think they were just trying to get past one bad news cycle.”