Skip to main content

Why Franken's resignation puts some Republicans in a moral quandary

It's forcing them to address the candidacy of Roy Moore in Alabama.
  • Author:
  • Updated:

It's not something you think you'd see – prominent right-leaning commentators defending Al Franken.

Nonetheless, that has happened since the senator's resignation became imminent, with former Illinois congressman turned conservative talkshow host Joe Walsh leaping to his aid, along with former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.

So why the defense all of a sudden? It could have something to do with the Republican Party and President Donald Trump supporting Roy Moore, the man fighting to win a Senate special election in Alabama next week.

Moore has been accused of sexual misconduct more severe than what Franken has faced – including one woman who alleges Moore initiated a sexual encounter when she was just 14.

Moore's support has shrunk to the point where he is facing a real battle to win the Senate seat against Democrat Doug Jones, despite Alabama being a historically red state.

Franken's resignation presents some Moore-defending Republicans with a new problem.

"What about Al Franken?" has been a popular response from Moore backers when faced with articles, columns and tweets critical of the candidate. Here's Mike Huckabee on Tuesday:

Trump's White House counselor Kellyanne Conway herself defended the president's support for Moore Wednesday morning, while questioning why Franken was still in the Senate.

It's also been a common response to anyone calling out President Trump for the accusations of sexual misconduct he has also faced in recent years, with Franken himself saying it's ironic he's leaving “while a man who has bragged on tape about his history of sexual assaults sits in the Oval Office."

But the "What about Al Franken?" argument diminished as soon as prominent Democratic leaderscalled for Franken to step down, heaping on the pressure that led to his resignation Thursday.

Notable activist Michael Brodkorb, the former Republican Party of Minnesota deputy chair, pointed out the conundrum now facing GOPers regarding Moore and President Trump – himself accused of multiple allegations of sexual misconduct in the past.

Similar sentiments have been echoed by the managing editor of the right-leaning Washington Examiner Phillip Klein, and former George W. Bush speechwriter David Frum.

Franken follows legendary Detroit congressman Rep. John Conyers out of office, who resigned following pressure over sexual misconduct allegations.

Some are saying the fall of Franken and Conyers is a cynical political ploy by a party trying to gain the moral high ground, but that doesn't change the fact Republicans will now find it harder to defend Moore, as well as their president.

Next Up

Melanie Valencia

Northfield bicyclist killed in crash identified as 14-year-old

She was riding her bike to soccer practice before a driver hit her last week.

Samantha Holte

Appeal to find 17-year-old Minnesota girl

She was last seen north of Fergus Falls.

Pixabay - water surface

Man's body found near empty fishing boat on St. Croix River

The boat, and an unoccupied truck found on the shore, belong to a 43-year-old White Bear Lake man.


Police identify MOA shooting suspects, issue nationwide warrants

Three Twin Cities residents were charged Monday in connection with helping the suspects escape.

Screen Shot 2022-08-04 at 7.25.42 PM

Charges: Best Western employees helped MOA shooting suspects escape

Prosecutors allege two Best Western employees helped the suspects escape.

election, vote

What to watch for in 2022 Minnesota primary elections

Bring Me The News brings you a breakdown of what to watch for Tuesday.

Aaron Peterson

Charges: Felon accused of firing shots at police during Meeker Co. standoff

The 31-year-old surrendered after a 28-hour standoff in rural Meeker County.

flash flooding

Weekend rain totals pushed 6+ inches in Minnesota, Iowa; 10 in Illinois

Big-time rain totals across southern Minnesota, southeast South Dakota, northern Iowa and northern Illinois.

Airport traveler flying pixabay

Man who had meth, guns in checked luggage at MSP Airport gets 10 years

Kevin Alan Aguilar-Moreno, 21, attempted to board a Delta flight to Phoenix in October of last year.

Screen Shot 2022-08-08 at 7.13.33 AM

Family identifies man killed by police in Otsego

The 21-year-old was reportedly experiencing 'mental health challenges' and allegedly had a knife when deputies opened fire.

88 S 11th St, Minneapolis, Minnesota - April 2022 (1)

Gun found on WCCO-TV rooftop after homicide in Minneapolis

It's the 56th death reported as a homicide in Minneapolis this year.


Late night hosts have their say on Al Franken's resignation from the U.S. Senate

Trevor Noah, Seth Meyers and Jimmy Fallon mentioned the Minnesota senator's resignation.

4 senators want Al Franken to reverse resignation, Politico reports

The Minnesota senator plans to step down next month.

Al Franken confirms official resignation date of Jan. 2

Lt. Gov. Tina Smith will be sworn in a day later.

Al Franken announces his resignation as Minnesota senator

It follows allegations of inappropriate conduct from multiple women.

Which Democrats might run to replace Al Franken?

The DFL Party will have to pick a candidate for a 2018 special election.

Reactions to Al Franken's resignation from politicians and Minnesotans

Reactions from Congress, politicians, and notable Minnesotans.

Amid condemnation from Senate colleagues, support still remains for Al Franken

There are plenty of people unhappy with the senator's possible resignation.

Dayton will name Al Franken's Senate replacement on Wednesday

Sen. Franken announced his resignation last week.