He’s really going with the spin that three different women felt his hands on their butts purely accidentally, huh? Accuser Lindsay Menz said Franken’s hand “was wrapped tightly around my butt cheek.” The first anonymous accuser who spoke to HuffPost claimed “He grabbed my buttocks during a photo op.” The second anonymous accuser alleged that Franken “cupped my butt” and then, when she excused herself to go to the bathroom, he supposedly leaned in and asked if he could go with her.
Franken has two options here, ‘fessing up or claiming that the three women are lying. But both present big problems. If he confesses he’ll come under intense pressure to resign and will lose the respect of many Democrats (until his reelection campaign begins). If he accuses the women of lying he’s essentially deploying the “nuts and sluts” defense to misconduct, a cardinal sin of the #MeToo moment. He’s trapped so he’s forced to resort to some inane third possibility in which his hand accidentally made contact with women’s asses, possibly due to him being jostled by a third party out of frame, and all three women misinterpreted incidental contact as him having his hand “wrapped tightly around my butt cheek.” An actual quote from the clip below: “I take thousands and thousands of pictures, sometimes in crowded and chaotic situations.” That’s as feeble and unconvincing a defense as Anthony Weiner ever offered but this is the progressive needle Franken is forced to thread. Admitting wrongdoing is a nonstarter, blaming the women is a nonstarter, ergo it must have been an innocent mistake.
Here’s another encouraging soundbite from the same interview for the Franken true believers out there:
Interviewer Cathy Wurzer asked Franken if more women might step forward “to accuse you of groping, patting, whatever, or is this it?”
“If you had said to me two weeks ago that a woman was going to say that I had made her uncomfortable and disrespected her in one of these ways I would have said ‘no,’” Franken responded. He added, “So, you know, I don’t know. I can’t say.”
Why, a man who’s taken thousands of photos in “chaotic situations” might theoretically have found his hand resting on thousands of women’s asses. Each of his colleagues in the Senate has also taken thousands of photos with constituents yet, oddly enough, only Franken seems to consistently run into this “accidental ass-grab” problem. Why is it that Ben Sasse and Dick Durbin and Jeff Flake and Chuck Schumer, etc etc, never seem to end a backslapping moment with voters with a handful of cheek?
Or do they? The day is young and more revelations are coming to Capitol Hill. Franken is the first but he won’t be the last.