As more women come forward to accuse Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) of unwanted touching and other forms of sexual harassment, the embattled lawmaker issued another statement on Thanksgiving Day apologizing for his behavior and vowing to be “much more careful and sensitive” going forward.
Yet the statement appears to downplay recent allegations that Franken grabbed the buttocks of women who had asked to pose with him for photos at political events, with the senator describing the interactions as “greetings or embraces.”
“I’ve met tens of thousands of people and taken thousands of photographs, often in crowded and chaotic situations,” Franken wrote. “I’m a warm person; I hug people. I’ve learned from recent stories that in some of those encounters, I crossed a line for some women — and I know that any number is too many. Some women have found my greetings or embraces for a hug or photo inappropriate, and I respect their feelings about that.”
Franken continued that he’s been thinking a lot in the days since the accusations surfaced about “how that could happen.”
“I recognize that I need to be much more careful and sensitive in these situations. I feel terribly that I’ve made some women feel badly and for that I am so sorry, and I want to make sure that never happens again. And let me say again to Minnesotans that I’m sorry for putting them through this and I’m committed to regaining their trust.”
Two women told the Huffington Post this week that Franken groped them while posing for photos at Democratic Party events in 2008, one claiming that the senator also ogled her chest and suggested he accompany her to the bathroom. The women did not give their names, but said they wanted to come forward to show that Franken has had a long pattern of misbehavior with women.