‘Path for redemption’ for Al Franken, Mark Halperin
WASHINGTON – Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, a Democratic presidential candidate, said Monday she believes that there is a “path for redemption” for former Sen. Al Franken and former pundit Mark Halperin, both of whom were accused of sexual misconduct.
“There is always room for redemption of anybody. I don’t know why this conversation is so difficult,” Gillibrand, D-N.Y., said during an interview with the Washington Post when asked whether she would support a political comeback by Franken. “Anyone who wants a second chance, it’s always there for everyone.”
“We’re a country that believes in second chances. We believe in someone who has humility, who comes forward to say they’re sorry and they have paid consequences and want to reemerge, that’s always there for everyone,” she continued. “There’s always a path for redemption, for anybody.”
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In 2017, the New York Democrat was the first senator to call on Franken to resign, and, saying she does not have any regrets, has repeatedly defended her role in his resignation.
Last month, the New Yorker reported that several senators regretted calling on Franken to step down. Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., told reporter Jane Mayer that he saw calling for Franken’s resignation as “one of the biggest mistakes I’ve made” in his long political career.
In addition, Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., former Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M., Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., and former Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., expressed some level of regret.
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Halperin, a former senior political analyst for MSNBC, is seeking to make a comeback to the mainstream of Washington political journalism.
The “Game Change” author has a new book deal, Politico reported Sunday. It is the first since at least a dozen women came forth with various allegations of sexual misconduct during his time at ABC News.
Speaking to the Washington Post Monday, Gillibrand later used similar language when discussing Halperin returning to the public eye.
“It’s not for me to judge,” she said. “It’s a choice that any individual can make and they just make it. It starts with humility and a recognition that you acknowledge that you’ve done something wrong.”
Contributing: William Cummings
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