14 reasons why Trump’s tweets on Al Franken cannot be ignored

Getting elected president doesn't make sexual assault allegations any less relevant.

Senate Judiciary Committee member Sen. Al Franken, D-MN (CREDIT: AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
Senate Judiciary Committee member Sen. Al Franken, D-MN (CREDIT: AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Donald Trump’s tweets are exhausting and many people, particularly Republican members of Congress, prefer to ignore them.

But a series of tweets by Trump on Thursday night about allegations of sexual harassment and assault against Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) cannot be ignored.

Franken has been accused of a very serious episode of sexual harassment and misconduct by radio commentator and former model Leeann Tweeden. On Thursday, a short time after the news broke, Franken apologized for his behavior and said he supported an ethics investigation into the incident.

At least 14 women, on the other hand, have accused Trump of sexual assault.

Ninni Laaksonen, former Miss Finland, says “Trump stood right next to me and suddenly he squeezed my butt” in July 2006. Jessica Drake says Trump grabbed and kissed her without consent, then offered her $10,000 for sex in 2006.  Karena Virginia says she was groped by Trump at the U.S. Open in 1998. Cathy Heller says Trump grabbed her and attempted to kiss her at Mar-a-lago in 1997. Summer Zervos, an Apprentice contestant, says Trump kissed her, grabbed her breasts and began “thrusting his genitals” in 2007.  Kristin Anderson says Trump reached under her skirt and grabbed her vagina through her underwear in the early 1990s. Jessica Leeds says Trump lifted up the armrest, grabbed her breasts and reached his hand up her skirt in the early 1980s. Rachel Crooks says she was sexually assaulted by Trump in an elevator in Trump Tower in 2005. Mindy McGillivray says Trump groped her while she was attending a concert at Mar-a-lago in 2003. Natasha Stoynoff says Trump pushed her against a wall and jammed his tongue down her throat at Mar-a-lago in 2005. Jennifer Murphy, another Apprentice contestant, says Trump kissed her on the lips after a job interview in 2005.  Cassandra Searles says Trump grabbed her ass and invited her to his hotel room in 2013. Temple Taggart McDowell, Former Miss Utah, says Trump kissed her directly on the lips the first time she met him in 1997. Jill Harth says Trump repeatedly sexually harassed her and groped her underneath a table in 1993.


Trump has not acknowledged any of these incidents or apologized for his behavior. Instead, he threatened to sue them. “All of these liars will be sued after the election is over,” Trump said. (He didn’t sue any of the women.)

He suggested one of the women was definitely lying because she was not attractive enough for him to sexually assault. And, of course, he was caught on tape bragging about the fact that he could get away with sexual assault because he was famous.

All of this was big news prior to the election but faded to the background once Trump prevailed on election day. Republicans, even those who distanced themselves from Trump after the allegations first surfaced, fell back into line.

Getting elected president, however, does not diminish the seriousness of fourteen credible allegations of sexual assault.

Now, Trump himself has opened the door to a new scrutiny of his conduct. He is attacking Franken while maintaining his support for Roy Moore, who has been accused of sexually harassing and assaulting teen girls while he was a prosecutor in his 30s.


We owe it to the 14 women who spoke publicly about their experiences with Trump — and others who have likely not come forward — to walk through the door.