'He Was Just A Comedian': CNN's Gloria Borger Dismisses Al Franken Groping Scandal

Chris Menahan
Nov. 17, 2017

Al Franken's groping needs to be taken in "context," because "he was just a comedian," so says CNN Chief Political Analyst Gloria Borger.

"Leeann did not call for him to step down or say he ought to step down," Borger said in Franken's defense Thursday on CNN's Newsroom.

"He was not a member of the Congress at the time this occurred," she said. "He was just a comedian."

Borger went on to say, "Franken has no effect on her at this particular time in her life."

She said we should instead be focusing on "Roy Moore" and "Donald Trump."

Transcript via NewsBusters:
BROOKE BALDWIN: But just out of the gate, the fact that you have Gloria, you know, Mitch McConnell and Chuck Schumer, right, from the left and right, both saying there needs to be an ethics investigation. I realize that this was years and years ago, this story, and he was a private citizen at the time, but can he survive this?

GLORIA BORGER: It remains to be seen. I mean, we should say that Leeann did not call for him to step down or say he ought to step down. When she was telling they were having an Ethics Committee investigation, she said that's on him.

BALDWIN: And he said yes I'll participate.

BORGER: Yes. We have to look at the context in which all of this occurring, which is Moore. Judge Moore. And that has been, you know, brewing and percolating, whatever you want to say, for days and days and days. So now then you have a Democrat and these charges and I can be sure of one thing, which is this is not the last. This is just —

BALDWIN: The last which?

BORGER: The last woman who will come out against a member of Congress. This is scratching the surface. He was not a member of the Congress at the time this occurred. He was just a comedian.


BORGER: We'll see if her coming out gives other women sort of, you know, more purpose and allows them to talk about people who are currently in positions of power who could effect them. Franken has no effect on her at this particular time in her life. It's a little bit more difficult for women who were working in the Congress. But I think what you are going to see is more and more on this as we see around the country. Congress is always a lagging indicator and in this, it is as well.

BALDWIN: She just also — to mentioned when you read her whole — her whole — Leeann's piece, I think one of the reasons she spoke out was because the woman we just played a clip of, Congresswoman Jackie Spier was on radio show and she thought, alright, if she can tell her Me Too story, then I can as well. What do you think?

EMILY JANE FOX: It's interesting what you think about what Judge Moore and his supporters are thinking about as you watch this. If he does continue on in the election and win a seat in the U.S. election, this is the climate he'll enter into and he's watching what they are saying on both sides in these allegations Senator Franken, what are they going to do allegations against Judge Moore? And I think that's an important thing for the people who continue to support Judge Moore, that this is the climate that he's going to enter into and it's not for giving for anybody for any kind of allegation. And certainly the ones against Judge Moore are more serious.


BALDWIN: Yes and what about the President? I guess I'm left wondering, and Gloria here’s my question to you, questions have been shouted at the president, as he was coming, as he was going when meeting with the house Republicans before the big vote on the hill. Nothing, according to Jeff Zeleny’s reporting, part of the reason that he hasn't commented on the whole Roy Moore piece of his whole story is, as I mentioned his own personal, let's rip the band-aid off, his own issue with women coming forward through the years alleging sexual, you know, assault and harassment against the now President. But how long can the White House just sit on this and not say anything?

BORGER: Well, you’re going to see Sarah Huckabee Sanders come out and perhaps she will be the mouth piece for the President in this.

BALDWIN: But especially as a woman.

BORGER: But, you know, don't forget, during the campaign when he was confronted with all these women, who are now by the way come out again if they haven't already, and I believe one or two have and said what about us? Are you forgetting us? He said they were lying. He said he didn't believe them and that it was completely fabricated. So, it's very difficult for him to say to Moore. who was saying the same thing that this is fabricated, et cetera, et, it's very difficult for him to say, well you should have believed me, that they were lying, but, I want him to step aside. Everybody understands that this is difficult for him politically. However, I would argue this is about something larger than Donald Trump and it is about the Republican Party and it is about the values of a country and it is about women and the way women are treated in the workplace.


BORGER: And elsewhere.


BORGER: And that presidents are supposed to speak on these kinds of issues. And if he can't speak on that issue, his silence is very telling.

BALDWIN: Agreed. Very curious to see how Sarah Sanders handles this in just a little while. It’s the first White House press briefing since, of course, this big Asia trip. So how — what she says and maybe what she doesn't say will be quite telling.
NBC's Kasie Hunt similarly dismissed Tweeden's account of being groped, saying what Franken did was "not actually groping."

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