President Trump jabbed at Senator Al Franken in a pair of late-night tweets Thursday, poking at a Democrat whose career is in danger over past sexual harassment, but calling attention to his silence about Alabama U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore—and, moreover, to his own history, including his boasts about sexual assault.
On Thursday, radio host Leeann Tweeden wrote about two incidents during a 2006 USO tour to Iraq, Kuwait, and Afghanistan. In one case, she said Franken—a Saturday Night Live alumnus and comedian who was not yet a senator—forcibly kissed Tweeden against her will during a rehearsal for a skit. And after returning home from the trip, Tweeden received a CD of photos that included Franken either groping or pretending to grope her over a flak jacket as she slept.
The story and photo threaten to end the career of a rising Democratic star, one who had even been mentioned as a potential 2020 presidential candidate. (Immediate reaction has been split: Some Democrats have called for Franken to resign, while many of his Senate colleagues have joined Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in calling for an Ethics Committee investigation.) The president jumped in, offering one of his trademark nicknames:
The Al Frankenstien picture is really bad, speaks a thousand words. Where do his hands go in pictures 2, 3, 4, 5 & 6 while she sleeps? .....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 17, 2017
.And to think that just last week he was lecturing anyone who would listen about sexual harassment and respect for women. Lesley Stahl tape?— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 17, 2017
The latter tweet is a reference to a 1995 New York magazine piece in which Franken spitballs an SNL sketch, including lines in which Andy Rooney would talk about drugging and raping his 60 Minutes colleague.