Senator Al Franken (D, MN) has been accused Thursday of sexually harassing a woman while the two were on a USO tour in Afghanistan 11 years ago. He’s apologized for it.
He was also quoted in a 1995 New York Magazine article about his generating a “joke” for Saturday Night Live, where he worked at the time, that centered on drugging and raping then-journalist Leslie Stahl. He apologized for that, too.
Then he said about that apology during his 2008 campaign for Senate that he
didn’t think he should have to apologize for the cracks, which his opponents were taking out of context. “To say I was sorry for writing a joke was to sell out my career, to sell out who I’d been my entire life,” he writes [in his book]. “And I wasn’t sorry that I had written Porn-o-Rama or pitched that stupid Lesley Stahl joke at 2 in the morning. I was just doing my job.”
But…”I learned that campaigns have their own rules, their own laws of physics, and that if I wasn’t willing to accept that, I would never get to be a senator.” And so Franken took a deep breath and told a little white lie: “I’m sorry.”
Little white lie. Franken still wants to be a Senator. With his clearly stated position that apologies are just lies to be mouthed in order to get what he wants, how is it possible for anyone—let alone the woman who accused him last Thursday—to believe his apology for that Afghanistan harassment? Or any other apology he might pretend to offer for any other transgression? Or anything at all he might say on any matter?
And lest there be any question about that USO incident, understand clearly: the existence of Franken’s pseudo-apology stands as his blithe confession that he did the thing of which he’s accused.
And he’s still a Senator.