Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.V., broke with many of his Democratic colleagues Monday, saying Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., should not resign over groping allegations and that he has “moved on” from claims of sexual misconduct against President Donald Trump.
Several prominent Democrats, including Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., have said recently that Trump should step down over accusations made by over a dozen women that he sexually harassed or assaulted them. The White House has denied those allegations and claimed the public already weighed in by electing him after they were reported, a position Manchin appears to agree with.
“I’m not going to make that determination because he went through an election process with all that in the open,” he told CNN.
Pressed about whether Congress should investigate the allegations against Trump, Manchin said there were other issues to discuss.
“I’ve moved on, I really have moved on,” he said.
Franken had asked for the Senate Ethics Committee to investigate the claims of several women that he groped them or acted inappropriately, but he said he could not go through that process and represent his constituents at the same time.
“I think that Al Franken should go through the process he’s asked for, due process,” Manchin said.
He also expressed concern that lawmakers are leaping to conclusions over sexual misconduct allegations as more stories emerge in the press.
“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.
Manchin questioned why Democrats demanded Franken resign instead of going through the ethics committee process as he requested. He added that, though Franken is a friend, he would accept whatever the outcome of such an investigation is.
“It’s just unbelievable to me how you can destroy a human being’s life and his family and everything they stand for without giving him a chance,” he said.