- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 16, 2017

The predominantly liberal panel on ABC’s “The View” condemned Democratic Sen. Al Franken after he was accused Thursday of forcibly kissing and groping a Los Angeles radio host while they were on a USO trip together in 2006.

Mr. Franken, who appeared on “The View” as recently as May, apologized to KABC host Leeann Tweeden after she accused the former “Saturday Night Live” comedian of “aggressively” kissing her during a comedy sketch rehearsal in Afghanistan and groping her while she was asleep aboard cargo plane.

“It’s just so disappointing,” co-host Joy Behar said. “But men of all different stripes are out there doing crazy [things].”

Meghan McCain, the only conservative on the panel, said she knows Ms. Tweeden personally and can “vouch for” her character.

“The people who go over on USO tours and sacrifice themselves and put themselves in danger to entertain their troops — the women there should not be subjected to being groped,” the co-host said. “I don’t care what kind of cult figure they are for the Democrats right now.”

The other women agreed that sexual harassment is not a partisan issue and should be condemned on all sides.

“It’s not acceptable for anyone to do it,” Whoopi Goldberg said. “This has nothing to do with your political leaning. This is not a partisan issue. You shouldn’t be doing this, and you should know better.

“Sometimes guys feel like they can make these kind of jokes, and I think we have to make it as uncomfortable as women are making it for people, to remind people, ‘Don’t touch me! Don’t touch me,’ ” she said.

Sara Haines asked, “How tasty is power that you can still go to sleep at night and be OK with those actions?”

“It’s shocking,” she said. “It takes them just becoming famous, just becoming powerful and then everything your family taught you, what you stand for is out the window because you can.”

Sunny Hostin then read Mr. Franken’s apology as the news broke.

“I certainly don’t remember the rehearsal for the skit in the same way, but I send my sincerest apologies to Leeann,” Mr. Franken said in a statement. “As to the photo, it was clearly intended to be funny but wasn’t. I shouldn’t have done it.”

The women said the apology was “good” but that they’d be eager to know what Ms. Tweeden thinks of it.

“He didn’t do it to me. I want to know how she feels,” Ms. Goldberg said.

Ms. McCain quickly shot down Ms. Behar after she tried to draw a link between Mr. Franken and President Trump, who has faced multiple allegations of sexual harassment himself.

“Right now we’re talking about Leeann,” Ms. McCain retorted. “This is an epidemic, bipartisan, across party lines, in your government, entertainment. … It is an epidemic across the country.”

Ms. Haines added, “Everyone got a pass for years and years and years. That’s why we’re hearing about it now.”

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