Post Editorial Board
Al Franken comes out of the world of show business, where scripts are constantly rewritten — so that’s probably why he’s just issued a fourth version of his attempt to explain sexual-harassment charges against him.
But the Minnesota senator’s still not making the kind of full-throated apology called for by the accusations against him by four different women, none of which he’s denied.
Instead, he’s embracing his inner Olaf: You know, the cute little snowman from “Frozen” who tells everyone, “I like warm hugs.”
“I’m a warm person; I hug people,” is Franken’s version of what happened when a woman says he grabbed her buttocks while taking a photo with her at the 2010 Minnesota State Fair. “Some women,” he now says, have found those hugs “inappropriate,” so he obviously needs “to be much more careful and sensitive.”
But all he’ll concede is having “made some women feel badly.” Not one of his statements admits to any intentionally bad behavior.
The first version, issued after a radio host said he kissed her without consent and groped her while she was sleeping, was to brusquely dispute her account and dismiss the photo of him in the act as just misfired humor.
He hasn’t come close to the “accountability” and “accepting responsibility” that Hillary Clinton disingenuously claimed he’s exhibited in this sordid affair.
Nor is he making himself available to answer reporters’ questions.
For Franken, it’s all about people misinterpreting his actions or overreacting when he “crossed the line” a few times. After all, he says, “I respect women” — even when he’s grabbing them.
It’s a new take on his Stuart Smalley character: “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough and, doggone it, people like me.”
It isn’t working outside the media-Hollywood bubble: Only 22 percent of all Minnesota voters say he should stay in office. And his approval rating has plummeted.
After all, this is the same Al Franken who hailed the “incredibly brave” women who’d spoken out against Weinstein, and who sanctimoniously declared that such behavior “is far too common.”
Clearly, he knew what he was talking about.
This article originally appeared in the New York Post.