Since Sen. Al Franken announced that he'll step down from the Senate over multiple sexual misconduct allegations, three Democratic senators, including Bernie Sanders, have called on President Trump to resign from office as well. Many women have gone on the record accusing Trump of groping, kissing or otherwise touching them inappropriately without their consent. Trump denies the allegations, and the White House's official position is that Trump's accusers are all liars.
"The president should resign, because he certainly has a track record with more than 17 women of horrific conduct," Sen. Jeff Merkley said on Thursday. The same day, Sen. Bernie Sanders said in a tweet that Trump should "think about resigning," and echoed that sentiment days later on Meet The Press.
“Here you have a president who has been accused by many women of assault, who says on a tape that he assaulted women," Sanders said Sunday while discussing Franken's resignation. "He might want to think about doing the same [as Franken]."
Meanwhile, while campaigning for Senate candidate Doug Jones in Alabama on Saturday, Sen. Cory Booker asked why Trump hadn't resigned yet over the sexual misconduct allegations.
“I just watched Sen. Al Franken do the honorable thing and resign from his office,” said Booker. "The question is, why isn’t Donald Trump doing the same thing? [He] has more serious allegations against him, with more women who have come forward. The fact pattern on him is far more damning than the fact pattern on Al Franken.”
After multiple women accused Franken of groping and kissing them without their consent, many Senate Democrats called on him to resign. This led many on the left to ask why those same senators hadn't yet demanded that Trump, who once bragged about grabbing women "by the pussy" without their consent, resign as well. Although several Democratic House members have called either for Trump's resignation or his impeachment, none of their Senate colleagues had followed suit.
Now, three Democratic Senators are on record either calling for Trump's resignation or, in Sanders' case, strongly implying that he should resign. But will more follow suit?
It's worth noting that Sanders, Booker, and Merkley all represent very blue states (Vermont, New Jersey, and Oregon, respectively). In addition, all three have been floated as potential Democratic challengers to Trump in 2020. In other words, they all have strong incentives (and more leeway) to go a little harder after Trump than, for instance, Senate Democrats with conservative constituencies.
The manner in which Democrats and Republicans respond to sexual misconduct allegations within their ranks has drawn a lot of attention recently. When two Democratic lawmakers — Franken and former Rep. John Conyers — were the target of such allegations, many elected Democrats called on them to resign. Additionally, some Democrats, such as Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, now say that Bill Clinton should have stepped down from the presidency in the 90s in light of his affair with Monica Lewinksy.
Republicans, however, have been slower to call on their colleagues to step down in light of sexual impropriety accusations. Most notably, the GOP has largely stood in lockstep with both Trump and Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore, who faces multiple accusations of initiating sexual contact with underaged girls. He denies them all. When it was reported Republican Rep. Blake Farenthold had spent $84,000 of taxpayer money to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit, some Republicans called on him to resign — but most, including House Speaker Paul Ryan, did not.
It's hard to imagine Trump voluntarily stepping down from office over allegations he's already denied. But if nothing else, the calls for resignation from Booker, Sanders and Merkley are a clear indication of where the progressive wing of the Democratic Party stands on the matter. Only time will tell whether the rest of the party follows suit.