Washington's high-ranking U.S. senator Patty Murray joined several other Democratic congresswomen this morning in urging Minnesota's U.S. senator Al Franken to step aside amid allegations of sexual abuse. Maria Cantwell also called on him to resign on Twitter.
Murray in a statement on Wednesday said that while it "pains" her that "in this case it is someone who I think has been a tremendous voice for our party," elected representatives can't pick and choose whom to hold to a higher standard.
“It’s clear to me that this has been a deeply harmful, persistent problem and a clear pattern over a long period of time. It’s time for him to step aside," Murray said, adding that the institution of using power to demean women can't be tolerated and is long overdue to being addressed.
Six powerful Democratic senators this morning released statements in a coordinated effort: Murray was joined by Kamala Harris of California, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Mazie Hirono of Hawaii, Claire McCaskill of Missouri, and Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire. Another two female senators and Cantwell followed suit shortly after.
Senator Franken’s actions are disturbing, egregious, and demonstrate a pattern of serious misconduct and abuse. It is time for Senator Franken to resign from office.— Sen. Maria Cantwell (@SenatorCantwell) December 6, 2017
The statements follow sexual abuse allegations against Michigan's Democratic U.S. representative John Conyers, who announced he was resigning a day earlier, bringing resentment among black lawmakers and concerns over a double standard.
Franken, a Democratic senator since 2009 and a former Saturday Night Live performer, has been accused of sexual abuse by several women. He apologized nearly a couple weeks later.
In Murray's statement, she also seemed to briefly allude to allegations against President Donald Trump.
“I believe service in politics and government is a noble pursuit, and all those who pursue it are flawed in some way. But I also believe public service demands higher standards—standards we choose to live by the moment we enter public life," Murray said. "And some actions should disqualify you from service, and they should disqualify you as a representative of all the people in a district, state, or even in the entire country.”
UPDATE: Franken resigned Thursday morning at a press conference, calling it "the worst day of my political life," while criticizing Trump and the Republican party.
“I, of all people, am aware that there is some irony in the fact that I am leaving while a man who has bragged on tape about his history of sexual assault sits in the Oval Office, and a man who has repeatedly preyed on young girls campaigns for the Senate with the full support of his party,” he said.
Updated at 11am on Wednesday, December 6, to include Maria Cantwell's tweet and at 9:25am Friday to include Al Franken's resignation.