I Have a Message for Anyone Trying to Compare Al Franken to Donald Trump and Roy Moore

I’m hoping that discussing this and getting your feedback will help us all understand it a little better and clear up the differences between the behavior of these men.

Al Franken kissed Leeann Tweeden, too aggressively, during a rehearsal for a skit she agreed to do. Upon doing so she pushed him away, he stopped — and that was that. Based on her account of what happened, Franken pushed things too far, especially if he used his tongue. If she felt Franken’s kiss was too much, then it was.

However, my main issue lies in her accusation that he groped her. Looking at the picture that has been made public — he’s not touching her. You can clearly see space between his left hand and her body, while you can see shadow underneath his right. While the picture is made to appear as if he’s grabbing her chest in some dumb attempt at humor, his hands aren’t actually on her body. Groping is defined as to “feel or fondle,” so I’m not entirely sure how he did either of those if we’re going by the photo.

Was it childish and a really bad idea? Of course it was. But if that’s the evidence for the claim that Franken physically groped and touched her, that’s not what the picture shows. I’m not making excuses for the poor taste of the photo, or the lame attempt by Franken to be funny, but groping, by definition, requires actual physical contact. Unless that happened after the photo was taken, the photo itself doesn’t show any.

Franken’s kiss was too aggressive and she felt humiliated by the picture. Both were clearly terrible mistakes by Franken and, no, claiming ignorance or that he didn’t mean anything nefarious by either doesn’t excuse how his behavior made her feel.

He was wrong and pushed things too far — end of story.

Though I am a little bit conflicted with all of this considering, following her coming public with all of this, these photos surfaced where Ms. Tweeden appears to be grabbing another male by the butt, kissing Franken during one of their performances in front of other people, as well as this video where she slaps the late Robin Williams on the backside after slightly straddling him.

Would she have been okay with Franken, Williams, or that male guitarist grabbing her butt? I don’t know the answer to that question.

Since this news broke, Franken’s repeatedly apologized, including sending a personal apology to Ms. Tweeden, and she accepted. He’s taken full responsibility for his poor decisions, while also agreeing with other top Democrats that there should be an ethics investigation into himself.

Granted this is just my opinion, but based on everything that I’ve seen, this seems more like a one-off mistake by Franken that he owned up to, apologized for, and the victim accepted that apology as heartfelt. As of writing this, there’s been absolutely no evidence that this was a pattern of behavior by the senator.

Yet there are people out there actually trying to lump him in with people like Donald Trump and Roy Moore?

They are out of their damn minds.

At least 16 different women have accused Trump of sexual harassment and/or assault. We’re not talking about overly-aggressive kisses women agreed to as part of a dumb skit, or ridiculous photographs taken while they slept. The allegations against Trump include him forcing himself on them, walking in on them while they were dressing and ogling them, pinning them up against walls, and making lewd comments about whether or not they were wearing any underwear after he had shoved his hands up their skirts.

Obviously, Trump’s denied every single one of these allegations. He’s accused the women of lying, being out for money, said some weren’t attractive enough for him to have assaulted or harassed, were part of a conspiracy against his campaign, and even threatened to sue them. He basically tried to publicly shame, slander, and bully them into going away or not speaking out against him.

Meanwhile, Roy Moore has been accused by multiple women not just of simple sexual assault — that would be bad enough — but of being a sexual predator of underage girls. The youngest woman claiming she was only 14 when Moore sexually assaulted her.

Since this scandal first broke, stories have sprung up all over the place from people who remember Moore, who was in his 30’s at the time, trying to pick up teenage girls at a local mall. One even claimed, though it hasn’t been confirmed, that she got him banned from the mall for harassing young girls.

As of writing this, I believe we’re at nine different women who’ve made accusations against Moore.

Yet, much like Trump, Moore’s denied any wrongdoing and publicly slandered these women as liars who are — wait for it — part of the media and establishment’s efforts to bring him down. That’s rather interesting considering at least two of the women are self-professed Republicans who voted for Trump, which makes it a little difficult to believe that they’re “working with the media and establishment to bring him down” to help Democrats.

Then again, when does anything Republicans say anymore actually make sense?

Between Trump and Moore, roughly 25 different women have accused them of some sort of sexual misconduct — in Moore’s case when they were underage. All the while, both men have claimed that none of these accusations are true and that the women are liars, and they’ve publicly tried to shame and silence them.

Yet some people want to put Franken into the same company as these two predators?

I’m not here to make excuses for Franken. What he did was wrong, even if he didn’t mean anything by it. He apologized to his victim, and owned up to his mistake. Again, as of now, there’s no evidence that this was part of some sort of a pattern of disgusting behavior from the senator from Minnesota.

But anyone trying to compare his behavior to that of Trump or Moore loses all credibility — there’s no comparison.

Al Franken made a dumb move, admitted to it and apologized for it, while agreeing his behavior should be investigated. That’s how people who don’t have anything to hide behave.

On the other hand, based on the stories of their accusers, Donald Trump and Roy Moore are apparently serial sexual predators who aggressively harassed and/or attacked their victims, in Moore’s case allegedly while they were underage, who’ve refused to take any responsibility for their actions, claimed their victims are all lying, and attacked anyone who dares to suggest their behavior should be looked into.

If you want to compare scumbags like Harvey Weinstein, Louis C.K., or Kevin Spacey to Trump and Moore, then I think that’s a valid comparison.

That said, while Franken’s behavior was bad, it doesn’t compare to the accusations Trump and Moore are facing.

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Allen Clifton

Allen Clifton is a native Texan who now lives in the Austin area. He has a degree in Political Science from Sam Houston State University. Allen is a co-founder of Forward Progressives and creator of the popular Right Off A Cliff column and Facebook page. Be sure to follow Allen on Twitter and Facebook, and subscribe to his channel on YouTube as well.


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