- The Washington Times
Monday, December 18, 2017

Sen. Joe Manchin called his fellow Democrats “hypocritical” for pushing out Sen. Al Franken following sexual harassment claims, according to a Politico interview published on Monday.

“The most hypocritical thing I’ve ever seen done to a human being — and then have enough guts to sit on the floor, watch him give his speech and go over and hug him? That’s hypocrisy at the highest level I’ve ever seen in my life. Made me sick,” Mr. Manchin, West Virginia Democrat, told Politico.

“Here’s a man, that all he said [was], ‘Take me through the Ethics Committee. I will live by whatever decision and I will walk away thinking about this opportunity I’ve had while I was here. But you find out if I’m a predator.’ “

Several Democratic senators called for Mr. Franken, Minnesota Democrat, to resign after allegations he forcibly kissed or groped several women became public. Mr. Franken refused to resign initially, calling for an ethics review before a decision was made. But after the latest allegation became public, members of his party — a majority of them women — came out in a seemingly coordinated effort to call for a resignation.

Franken’s office declined to comment, Politico said.

Mr. Franken agreed to step down in January, but some speculate he may refuse, despite the fact that Gov. Mark Dayton has already named Lt. Gov. Tina Smith as a successor.

Mr. Manchin said Mr. Franken should not step down, arguing that he has not gone through the process of an ethics review.

“I think Al Franken should go through the process of what he’s asked for. I believe that we should have a process to where women can come out, and be protected, when they have been violated. And they should be able to state that and be protected in doing it,” Mr. Manchin said on CNN.

“And I believe a person that’s been accused ought to have a process that we can investigate thoroughly and whatever the findings are, be prosecuted, or be removed. or found innocent of those charges,” he said.

• Sally Persons can be reached at spersons@washingtontimes.com.

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