Trump Pounces on Al Franken Sexual Misconduct Allegation: ‘Al Frankenstien Picture Is Really Bad’

Donald Trump

An analysis of President Donald Trump’s tweets. 

The tweets:

“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? …..,” he tweeted.

He followed up with this:

“And to think that just last week he was lecturing anyone who would listen about sexual harassment and respect for women. Lesley Stahl tape?”

What’s Behind It: “Al Frankenstien”? Sounds like a Mel Brooks joke. Trump is pouncing on the allegations facing Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.), a frequent foe. Leeann Tweeden, a newscaster and former model, wrote on a post on the KABC website on Thursday in which she said Franken kissed and groped her without her consent during a 2006 USO tour. She included a picture in which Franken appears to be trying to touch her breasts as she is sleeping.

Franken was then a radio talk show host, comedy writer, and author, and not yet a senator, but he issued an apology and called for an ethics investigation of the incident. In interviews on Thursday and Friday, Tweeden accepted the apology and said on “Good Morning America” that she was not calling for him to step down.

The reference to Stahl was to a New York magazine article in which Franken talked about a “Saturday Night Live” skit.

Why Now: Trump did not mention Roy Moore, the other political figure who has lately faced sexual harassment and assault allegations, including seeking sexual relations with a 14-year-old girl when he was in his 30s, and sexually assaulting a 16-year-old girl. Moore, running in a special election for U.S. Senate, is backed by Steve Bannon, Trump’s former chief strategist. Even though a number of Republicans on Capitol Hill have called for Moore to step aside, the president has said little himself.

What’s the Fallout: Take Moore out of the equation. Trump faces his own allegations of sexual misconduct by more than a dozen women. His tweet triggered an immediate reaction on Twitter, including one from Gretchen Carlson, the former Fox News host who came forward with sexual harassment allegations against Roger Ailes that eventually forced him to resign as the chieftain of Fox News.

As Carlson has pointed out, the issue of sexual harassment and assault aren’t exclusive to one party, nor are they to one industry or country. Trump may be trying to score political points with his tweet, but it’s likely to provoke new questions about allegations against him. White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said a couple of weeks ago that those accusers were lying, but Trump faces a defamation lawsuit from one of the women, Summer Zervos, for making just that claim.