No, Senator Heitkamp, Al Franken Hasn’t Really Apologized


U.S. Sen. Al Franken was in northwestern Minnesota Monday. photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald

In the wake of accusations against Senator Al Frank (D-Minnesota) by model and broadcaster Leeann Tweeden, in which she claims that he forced a kiss on her and groped her breasts, fellow Democratic Senator Heidi Heitkamp announced that she’d be donating to charity Franken’s contributions to her campaign:

So far in the 2018 cycle Franken has given Heitkmap $10,000 through his (ironically named) Midwest Values PAC. I don’t see any other contributions from Franken’s PAC to Heitkamp going back to the 2012 cycle when she first ran for the U.S. Senate.

Heitkamp also criticized Franken from her official U.S. Senate Twitter account, though gave him some credit for apologizing:

Here’s the problem, though. Franken didn’t actually apologize.

In the statement he released, he certainly said he’s sorry. He admits to the photo of him groping (or, at least, pretending to grope) Tweden’s breasts. Probably because there’s, you know, a photo. But the most serious charge Tweden makes – that Franken forced a kiss on her and, worse, forced his tongue into her mouth – Franken denies.

Read his statement carefully. Tweden says the unwanted kiss happened during a USO rehearsal for a skit Franken wrote. Franken says he remembers the rehearsal differently. That’s a denial:

Heitkamp says we have been “too tolerant and dismissive of past allegations.” And yet her colleague, and frequent political ally, is dismissing the most egregious allegation against him.

Passively, in couched in apologetic tones, but dismissed none the less.

I’m not sure it would have been a big deal had Heitkamp kept Franken’s cash. I actually think it’s a bigger issue that Heitkamp is carrying on as though Franken did something he didn’t actually do, which is take responsibility for what he’s credibly accused of.