Dec 7, 2017, 9:03 PM ET

Some Senators shying away from comparisons between Al Franken and Roy Moore

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After Democrats called for — and got — Sen. Al Franken's resignation amid sexual misconduct allegations, Republicans are now being forced to face the question of why the Republican-backed Senate candidate Roy Moore in Alabama isn't being held to the same standard.

"I of all people am aware that there is some irony – the fact that I am leaving while a man bragged on tape about his history of the sexual assault sits in the oval office and a man who has repeatedly preyed on young girls campaigns for the senate with the full support of his party," Franken said in announcing his resignation Thursday. He sought to distinguish between his own response to accusations and those against Donald Trump and Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore, who also face and dispute claims of sexual misconduct.

In conversations with ABC News, a number of Republicans today shied away from the comparison between Franken and Moore, who both face multiple accusations of sexual misconduct. Some suggested to ABC News that if Moore wins, he should be dealt with by the Senate Ethics Committee, not pushed out.

"[Moore has] denied the allegations, he deserves due process," Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said. "If he gets elected, he’ll get due process. If he wants to resign, that’s up to him. I want him to step aside. I wish he were not our nominee. I think if he wins, he’s the gift that keeps on giving for democrats."

Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, also deferred to the ethics committee, if it comes to that.

"If he wins, I don’t know how that’s gonna pan out, that’ll be up to the Ethics Committee," Hatch said, declining to answer whether he sees a double standard here.

Asked if he's concerned it looks like the parties are operating by different standards when it comes to sexual misconduct, Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., responded with a simple "no."

"Franken didn’t have to resign," Cassidy argued. "There was clearly no due process. But when you have everybody coming after you, that’s what he chose to do. But, but that’s really up to Franken, and up to Moore, not up to the parties."

While many Republicans — and GOP leaders — were quick to call for Moore to bow out of the race initially, now, with Moore digging in and just days before his election, some are increasingly saying it's up to the Alabama voters. Republican Leader Mitch McConnell says, if elected, Moore would likely face an immediate investigation by the Senate Ethics Committee.

Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., refused to equate the two senators because he said there is no evidence that Roy Moore did anything wrong.

"There’s a big difference you guys are going to have to acknowledge sooner or later, that is Roy Moore has denied these things. There’s not evidence. In fact, the people in Alabama, apparently most of them agree with him," Inhofe told reporters, insisting the photo of Franken that an accuser said shows him groping her during a USO trip to Afghanistan before he was an elected official amounted to clear evidence of his wrongdoing.

With the Alabama election just days away, and the midterms fast approaching, Democrats are unlikely to drop the issue.

Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., summed up her party's stance, saying their Republican colleagues should look at sexual harassment situation in a more "responsible" way.

"I think most people looking at this in the White House, to the Senate, to the House -- look at it a little differently," Stabenow said.

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  • George286

    The reason Trump won and the Democrats will continue to lose is because they are still pursuing an impotent strategy of orchestrating shame as a weapon, while the right is just shooshing it all aside with a little PR and taking what they want. Not to mention that since he was inaugurated much of Dem shame-making has been exposed over and over as resting on some weak and self-serving reasoning (even worse that they are now using on each other, where it still works). It doesn't work anymore otherwise and Trump is shameless. Get it?

  • George286

    Like comparing rape and panty raids.

  • JuPMod

    "I think most people looking at this in the White House, to the Senate, to the House -- look at it a little differently," Stabenow said.

    ***************************

    Of course there will be people who will see this differently. I see the GOP being a bunch of scary cat hypocrites. They attack Franken but are not standing up against Moore and Trump. The national GOP did withdrew support for Moore but then came back in when they saw how many far-right Alabama voters are still on Moore's side. By siding with Moore and Trump, the GOP is saying that it is okay for men to molest women, as long the men are Republicans.

  • Karolyn Lapka

    Franken said he would resign."in the upcoming weeks". He's still; there and he still has a soap box. If Moore wins, the Republicans have big decisions about the future of the GOP, and Franken is still there.

  • hopesprings52

    Nobody does hypocrisy like the GOP.

  • Dr. Gurnicus Blanstonius

    Nice to see Republicans deride and call for Franken's ouster. Yet manage to reconcile the dozens of women who have accused Trump and Moore.

    I can't imagine a more telling chain of events to describe what has become of the Republican party. I even had one Trump supporter tell me that 'one has to sacrifice their morality in order to support a greater cause'. Just think about that...

  • Bill William

    Will this hurt Republicans at election time? We know a lot about our presidents comments before the election and he won.

  • Krimson

    "Blah blah blah! Stupid Dems throw their own, and some stupid RINOs, under the "pervert" bus! We'll keep our own Greedy Old Perverts and use their votes! Welcome to the Senate, Senator Moore!" - GOP

  • Dicazi

    Trump's accusers are greater in number and he's bragged about looking at teen beauty contestants in dressing areas.
    Moore's accusers were young enough to be his daughters at the time he "allegedly molested them. One 14. He was admittedly attracted to his wife when she was 15.
    At least Franken's victims were all adults.
    And yes, I think he did the right thing by resigning.

  • Life's a River

    Of course they avoid the comparison. What Al Franken did, he did with adult women. What both Moore and Trump did was with underage girls. Plus both Moore and Trump had much longer lists of accusers than Franken. So of course Republicans avoid the comparison, because the comparison highlights the blatant hypocrisy of the Republican party.

  • caliento

    Graham, since going golfing with Trump has lost his moral dignity.....what a turn around from his characterization of Trump earlier. Flake, Corker, McCain are about the only 3 Republicans left with any decency.....

  • Eternal Tech
    "If he wins, I don’t know how that’s gonna pan out, that’ll be up to the Ethics Committee," Hatch said, declining to answer whether he sees a double standard here."

    Any objective judicial or quasi-judicial body is going to experience difficulties with adjudicating claims from decades ago without evidence. From a political standpoint, I am not a Moore supporter, but everyone is entitled to the presumption of innocence and due process.

    As a society, we should be focusing on claims that have occurred recently and in which corroborating evidence is present, not on allegations that can never be proven.

  • Bud Simpson

    If nothing else this exposes the GOP fraud of being the party of family values and morality...as if we needed any further proof than what they did with the new tax reduction bill.