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SALT LAKE CITY — Sen. Al Franken's decision to step down was right for his constituents and for the U.S. Senate, Sen. Orrin Hatch said Thursday.
"Serving in the Senate is a privilege," said Hatch, R-Utah, "and here we hold our members to the highest ethical standards, and I expect any of my colleagues to adhere to those standards."
Franken, a Minnesota Democrat, announced Thursday he will resign "in the coming weeks" after seven women accused him of groping or trying to forcibly kiss them. The two-term senator said some of the allegations are false and that he remembers other incidents differently than his accusers.
Rep. Mia Love, R-Utah, said she supports Franken's resignation "based on his own admission of the offenses."
"He was subject to an ethics committee investigation but resigned amid growing allegations on his own," she said.
Love reiterated her previous statement "that sexual harassment and inappropriate and unwanted sexual behavior is unacceptable. Period."
Franken blasted President Donald Trump and embattled Alabama GOP Senate candidate Roy Moore in his resignation speech.
“I, of all people, am aware that there is some irony in the fact that I am leaving while a man who has bragged on tape about his history of 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.
Trump endorsed Moore earlier this week. Hatch on Monday defended the president's support for Moore, saying, "that's the only Republican we can get down there."
But Wednesday, Hatch made clear that he did not endorse Moore and that he was "deeply disturbed" by the accusations against him.
"I was one of the first in the Senate to urge Roy Moore to step aside and to urge Alabamans to consider an alternative," Hatch said. "But I’ve also said that, in the end, the decision is in the hands of the people of Alabama."
Republican Senate leaders have said Moore would be subject to an ethics investigation should he win.