Zero tolerance for campaigning with politicians accused of sexual assault must start at the top

Republicans stirring Franken controversy would be utter hypocrites if they went on to campaign with Trump

INDIANAPOLIS – The Republicans stirring a controversy over Senator Franken and seemingly pushing for a zero-tolerance policy associating with candidates accused of sexual assault must pledge not to campaign or accept contributions from President Donald Trump and groups linked to him – a man accused of sexual harassment and assault by at least 16 women.

Following an accusation of sexual assault against Senator Al Franken, Joe Donnelly has donated his contributions to Joe’s campaign to 10 Indiana food banks. Meanwhile, national Republicans and GOP Senate candidates including Congressmen Messer and Rokita are calling for campaigns to disassociate themselves from Franken. Yet Congressmen Messer and Rokita have shown no sign that they wouldn’t accept campaign support from President Trump, against whom more than a dozen women have leveled similar charges, and who was notoriously caught on tape bragging about sexual assault.

Indeed, both Congressmen Messer and Rokita have already hypocritically failed this test. Both men continued to stand by then-candidate Donald Trump in the wake of the Access Hollywood tape. Congressman Messer continued to endorse Trump even though he said he “can’t defend” his actions. Congressman Rokita, meanwhile, said that “nothing has changed about my support” of President Trump in the wake of the tape.

“There should be zero tolerance for sexual assault and those who perpetrate it linked to our campaigns. That’s our standard, and that’s now apparently the standard that Washington Republicans and their candidates in Indiana have chosen to play by,” said Will Baskin-Gerwitz, Senior Media Strategist for the Indiana Democratic Party. “Now, Republicans like Congressman Messer, Congressman Rokita, and Rep. Braun must follow through on their new-found policies and promise to disassociate their own campaigns—whether campaign appearances or contributions—from a politician at the head of their party accused by at least 16 women of sexual harassment and assault. Our nation must move to a point where no one running for office relies on harassers and assaulters for support—no matter their political party, and no matter if they’re in the statehouse or the White House.”

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