Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) said Monday that it’s going to take “a long time” to regain people’s trust amid a series of sexual harassment allegations against him.
“I’ve let a lot of people down,” Franken said during a press conference Monday. “To all of you, I just want to again say I am sorry.”
“I know there are no magic words that I can say to regain your trust and I know that’s going to take time,” he continued. “I’m ready to start that process and it starts with going back to work today.”
Franken’s statement comes amid a series of groping allegations against him. Earlier this month, Leeann Tweeden, a radio host, accused him of kissing her and grabbing her breasts without her consent during a 2006 USO tour. Three other women came forward last week to accuse Franken of touching their buttocks.
Franken said in an interview with local CBS affiliate WCCO on Sunday that he couldn’t remember if he had grabbed women’s buttocks during photo ops at the Minnesota State Fair, as Lindsay Menz said he did in 2010, and that he wasn’t sure whether there would be more groping allegations against him.
“I can’t say that it hasn’t happened,” Franken said about the groping allegations, adding that he has taken “thousands” of photos with people throughout his career.
“I understand I am going to have to do everything I can going forward to be enormously sensitive,” he said during the interview. “I apologize to these women.”
When asked by a reporter Monday what the bar should be for resignation from the Senate, Franken said he did not want to “speculate.”
“I’ve been trying to take responsibility by apologizing,” Franken said. “I’m going to try to learn from my mistakes.”
He continued: “This has been a shock and it has been extremely humbling. I am embarrassed. I feel ashamed.”
This story has been updated with additional comment from Franken.