White House Scrambles to Dodge the Franken Bombshell (Vanity Fair)

White House Scrambles to Dodge the Franken Bombshell

http://bit.ly/2BUYhEy

Al Franken’s resignation from the Senate on Thursday morning was both moral and political calculus, a maneuver hastened by his Democratic colleagues and designed to allow them to retain the moral high ground on issues of women’s equality and sexual harassment and assault. House Democrats had already pushed out Rep. John Conyers, with Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi explicitly calling for his resignation. So in a speech on the Senate floor, despite his assertions that “some of the allegations against me are simply not true” and others happened “very differently” than they were described to the press, Franken accepted the inevitable.

But if Franken’s primary role was sacrificial lamb, his secondary role—that of political kamikaze—became evident as he continued his speech, noting 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,” and calling on his colleagues to “find the political courage necessary to keep asking the tough questions, hold this administration accountable, and stand up for the truth.”

His blatant attack on both Donald Trump and Roy Moore was broached during Thursday afternoon’s White House press briefing, wherein press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was asked for the president’s comment. Her response was a characteristic brush-off, albeit one featuring a new level of twisted logic. “The president addressed [allegations of sexual harassment against him] during the campaign,” she said. “We feel strongly the people of this country addressed it when they elected Donald Trump as president.” She similarly dodged when Moore’s election campaign was brought up, repeating the popular line that the “people of Alabama” will decide his fate.

She then threw in a defense of her boss, in contrast to the bubbling allegations of workplace harassment filed against Conyers, Franken, and potentially up to 30 additional Congresspeople: “As a woman myself, I’ve never felt anything but treated with the highest level of respect and been empowered to do my job.”

The timing of the allegations against Moore and Franken, smack in the middle of a national reckoning when it comes to sexual assault, has brought an uncomfortable moral quagmire to the surface for the White House. As Trump jabs at Franken on Twitter, it’s all but impossible to forget that he himself is an accused serial sexual assailant. “Voters voted for him knowing that. And I’m still astounded by that,” Senator Sherrod Brown told reporters on Thursday. “. . .[But] he’s not going to resign.” As the White House continued to bob and weave whenever the allegations against Trump are mentioned, the president appeared to have divorced himself from the controversy. Asked during a press appearance whether he had a response to Franken’s speech, he replied, “I didn’t hear it.”

General

via Vanity Fair http://bit.ly/2xvuIXg

December 7, 2017 at 03:10PM