After being widely criticized for mocking members of a student group that wanted nothing more but to meet with her, Minnesota Rep. Mary Franson (R) responded with a private Facebook post suggesting she was worried about becoming the next Roy Moore.
“A man’s life was destroyed in AL,” Franson wrote, alluding to Moore. “40 years ago he met with minors alone and they recently accused him of horrendous actions. In the world of we must believe every sexual harassment claim, I would think my approach is beyond reasonable. All it takes is one perceived action and my life is destroyed. The life of my family is destroyed. That is a risk I will not take.”
Moore, of course, allegedly did much more that just “meet” with minors. At least six women have accused Moore of sexual misconduct, including child molestation and sexual assault.
Jack Ballou, the 17-year-old founder of the student group Franson refused to meet with — Alexandria Area High School (AAHS) Democrats — has been blocked by Franson. Told of her Facebook post, Ballou told ThinkProgress that he’s “shocked.”
“If any of what she said was true, she could have just told us initially that she doesn’t meet with minors,” Ballou said. “I’m also so confused how she started defending Roy Moore… last year I met with Mary through the student page program, one on one at her office. She had no issue then.”
Instead of setting her up for a sexual assault, Ballou said he and other members of AAHS Democrats merely wanted to meet with Franson to discuss issues of concerns to students, such as student debt. In her Facebook post, Franson acknowledged their concerns, but suggested they’d be best off turning to their families members for help — like she did — instead of asking elected officials.
“If it wasn’t for my Great Uncle (constituent of mine) vouching and writing letter [sic] of my independent status, I may not have been able to attend [college],” Franson wrote. “I had to work my way through college. So yes, I understand the struggle because I lived it.”
Franson also accused AAHS Democrats of setting up “an ambush or set up,” and compares the student group with Antifa.
Franson’s refusal to meet with the students was covered on Monday night by the Fox affiliate in the Twin Cities. In an interview with the TV station, Franson claimed that “this has absolutely nothing to do with me not wanting to meet with Democrats — it has everything to do with the fact that we all have to be careful in today’s world.”
But Franson’s damage control is belied by her Twitter exchange with AAHS Democrats. In it, she dismissed the students as “a partisan group” and wrote, “It’s not a Legislator’s duty to meet with a ‘proudly’ partisan democrat group. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯”