Al Franken takes tentative step back into public limelight with healthcare podcast

The former senator has been quiet since stepping down amid inappropriate conduct allegations.
Author:
Publish date:

It's been a quiet year for Al Franken since stepping down from his Senate seat in controversial circumstances after he was accused of inappropriate behavior.

But now he is taking his first tentative steps back into public debate in the form of a new healthcare podcast that went live this week.

Franken shared it to his Facebook page on Monday, a few days after writing a Thanksgiving message in which he vowed to continue to "listen and learn" about women's experiences in modern day U.S.A. and admitting he missed "being in the fight every day."

With his healthcare podcast, Franken starts off by noting that when he left the Senate, "I said I was giving up my seat but not my voice, and after the mid-term elections I thought I'd start experimenting with ways to make my voice heard."

He followed this up with a quip: "By the way I want to thank everyone who voted in the mid-terms no matter who you voted for, and of course I do not mean that."

Healthcare was the number one issue among Democrats in the most recent mid-terms, which Franken said was the result of people realizing what they stood to lose when the Republican-controlled Congress attempted to strip away the protections of Obamacare.

This, he says, meant that the Democrats did a "very bad job of explaining the ACA (Affordable Care Act) in the first place."

There remains mixed sentiment on the left about the way Franken left the Senate.

He was one of the most popular and well-known senators, and he still has supporters who feel he was treated too harshly, arguing that some of his Democratic colleagues called for his resignation too soon given there had been no time for a Senate investigation into the allegations made by several women of inappropriate touching.

Sign up: Subscribe to our daily newsletters

But there are also many who believe that Franken's resignation was right for the Democrats and the wider #MeToo movement, with this piece in Slate saying Democrats should be thanking senators who called on him to resign for saving the party's reputation "among young voters who have plenty of reasons to think Democrats are just as corrupt and sleazy as Republicans."

Slate's piece comes in the wake of high youth turnout in the November mid-terms, which proved to be key in the "blue wave" that swept the Democrats to control of the House.

While Franken said in his Thanksgiving message that he has no intention of running for any political office, he seems determined to have his say on issues that matter to Americans.

You can listen to his his healthcare discussion with Andy Slavitt below.

Next Up

Minneapolis police

3 Mpls officers injured on night of shootings, stabbings and fights

It was a tense weekend for the city of Minneapolis.

Fruen Mill in Minneapolis.

Teen in serious condition after fall at abandoned Minneapolis mill

Multiple urban explorers have been hurt at the Fruen Mill.

Screen Shot 2021-04-12 at 5.44.29 PM

Brooklyn Center City Council votes to create department for noncriminal calls

The resolution is named after Daunte Wright and Kobe Dimock-Heisler, who were both killed by police in Brooklyn Center.

Screen Shot 2021-05-16 at 7.54.26 AM

Train derails while passing by lake in Albert Lea

The Union Pacific train derailed Saturday afternoon.

Kaprizov, Wild

5 questions for the Wild's playoff series against Vegas

The Wild seem to have the advantage, but can they win their first playoff series since 2015?

police tape, crime scene

Young girl shot in the head in north Minneapolis

The girl was outside when she was struck by the bullet, police said.

prison, Rush City cell block

Former Army Green Beret and U of M student sentenced for Russian espionage

Peter Rafael Dzibinski Debbins, 46, was sentenced to 188 months in prison.

Miguel Sano

Miguel SanĂ³'s 8th inning blast ends Twins losing streak

The 5-4 victory over the A's snapped a five-game losing streak.

Thomas Humphrey, charged in vaccine thefts.

Viral videos of vaccine thefts lead to charges for MN anti-vaxxer

Thomas Edward Humphrey is a 32-year-old St. Paul resident.

Kyle Imdieke of Osakis, Minnesota.

Community rallies around family of MN coach who died suddenly

Kyle Imdieke was a beloved educator at Osakis High School.

Related

Al Franken announces his resignation as Minnesota senator

It follows allegations of inappropriate conduct from multiple women.

Al Franken making a comeback as paid public speaker

The former senator is now available for hire.

Sarah Silverman says Al Franken was 'bullied' into resigning

The comedian is a long-time friend of Minnesota's former senator.

Is Al Franken done with Minnesota politics? Maybe not.

The former Minnesota senator hasn't ruled it out.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand defends role in Al Franken's resignation

She was the first Democratic senator to call on Franken to resign.

Al Franken wants Trump to back up promise on mental health

The former Minnesota senator has been drawn into the Florida shooting debate.

Are voters changing their minds on whether they think Al Franken should resign?

A new poll of Minnesota voters found them split on whether the senator should step down.

Video: Sen. Al Franken's goodbye speech to supporters

The senator gave his first public speech in Minnesota since announcing his plans to resign.