Outgoing Sen. Al Franken used his final speech as a
U.S. senator to thank family, staff and Democratic
colleagues — and to excoriate President Trump.
Over the course of a 40-minute speech on the Senate floor on
Thursday, the Minnesota Democrat, who is stepping down next month following
allegations of inappropriate touching made by multiple
women, tore into Trump and Republicans over their “attacks”
on voting rights, LGBT rights, science, health care and — most
recently — the middle class.
“During his inaugural address, President Trump vowed that ‘the
forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no
longer,’” Franken said. “But the Republican tax bill represents
a slap in the face to those forgotten men and women. I guess
the president forgot about them.”
Franken decried what he described as the repeated “lies” of the
Trump administration, including the president’s baseless claim
that millions of people voted illegally in the 2016 election.
“It’s all based on a lie — and not a lie President Trump came
up with,” Franken said. “Right-wing conservatives have been
raising a false alarm about so-called voter fraud for years
despite the fact that no credible evidence has ever been
[found] demonstrating that it is a real problem.”
The same, Franken said, goes for the administration’s policies
affecting the LGBT community.
“Lurking behind these policies are lies,” he said. “Lies that
the advocates of LGBT rights want to trample on people’s
religious freedom. The lie that families led by a gay or
lesbian couple don’t provide a safe environment for children.
The lie that allowing transgender people to use the appropriate
bathroom opens the door to sexual assault. President Trump
didn’t invent these lies. But he and his administration proudly
Franken also lamented Trump’s “attacks on science,” citing
a recent Washington
Post report that the Trump administration had prohibited
the Centers for Disease Control from using such terms as
“evidence-based” and “science-based.”
“We now have enough evidence to conclude that climate change is
real and it is man-made and it is a threat to our nation’s
security and an existential threat to the planet,” Franken
said. “President Trump didn’t launch the war on science, but
now he’s leading the charge.”
Franken, who is stepping down on Jan. 2, praised his
replacement, Minnesota Lt. Gov. Tina Smith, as a worthy
“I have no doubt Sen. Smith will serve Minnesotans and all
Americans well,” Franken said.
Franken did not mention the allegations of sexual misconduct
that led to his resignation. In a speech on the Senate floor
announcing his intention to step down earlier this month,
Franken insisted that some of the claims were not true and
others he remembered differently.
“There is some irony that I am leaving while a man who bragged
on tape about his history of sexual assault sits in the Oval
Office, and a man who preyed on young girls runs for Senate
with the full support of his party,” Franken said then,
referencing Trump and Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore.
He concluded Thursday’s speech on a positive note.
“Politics is about the improvement of people’s lives,” Franken
said. “The American people know that to be true. And they fill
me with hope for our future.”
Read more from Yahoo News: