- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Harry Reid, the former Senate majority leader, said in an interview released Wednesday that he wants disgraced former Democratic colleague Al Franken to run again for office.

“I wish he would,” Mr. Reid told The Daily Beast about Mr. Franken competing again for public office. “But I don’t think he will. He just feels hurt. And he was a good senator.

“He got a bad deal,” Mr. Reid added, the website reported.

Mr. Franken, a former comedian and longtime writer for NBC’s “Saturday Night Live,” represented Minnesota in the Senate from 2009 through 2018 before resigning amid allegations of sexual misconduct. Attempts to reach him for comment were not immediately successful.

A fierce critic of President Trump before resigning, Mr. Franken left office after being accused in late 2017 of having acted inappropriately more than a decade earlier by Leeann Tweeden, a conservative radio host and former model who had performed with the future senator on a USO tour prior to his career in politics.

Ms. Tweeden claimed that Mr. Franken aggressively kissed her while the two rehearsed a skit on tour in 2006, and she shared a photograph that she alleged to show him groping her breasts while she slept on a military plane after performing for troops overseas. Mr. Franken denied aggressively kissing Ms. Tweeden as claimed and apologized for posing for the “completely inappropriate” photograph, but he quickly was accused by several other women of making unwanted sexual advances and ultimately resigned.

Discussing his resignation in an interview published by The New Yorker last month, Mr. Franken said he “absolutely” regrets stepping down from office before the Senate Ethics Committee could finish an investigation of his conduct.

“I can’t go anywhere without people reminding me of this, usually with some version of ‘You shouldn’t have resigned,’” he said.

Others who served alongside Mr. Franken on Capitol Hill have recently stated otherwise, however. Sen. Kristen Gillibrand, Minnesota Democrat and 2020 presidential candidate, said last month that she has “no regrets” about rallying for Mr. Franken’s resignation.

Mr. Franken, 68, currently hosts a podcast, “The Al Franken Podcast,” which launched in March.

Mr. Reid, 79, retired in 2016 after spending 20 years representing Nevada on Capitol Hill, including a decade spent as the Senate’s top Democrat. He joined the law school at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas the following year as a distinguished fellow in law and policy.

• Andrew Blake can be reached at ablake@washingtontimes.com.

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