Bill Maher Tries to Rehab Al Franken’s Image Before the Election
The “Real Time” host welcomed the former senator onto his program—and refused to so much as hint at the allegations against him.
“Four days before the election. As Stormy Daniels once said, ‘Let’s just get this over with,’” joked Bill Maher Friday night.
After his monologue, the Real Time host welcomed his longtime pal Al Franken onto the program for a sit-down interview. Franken, of course, is the former SNL comic turned Democratic Senator from Minnesota who resigned on January 2, 2018, after a number of women accused him of unwanted touching and kissing. Maher has repeatedly defended Franken on his program, minimizing the allegations against him and reframing them as only “one incident” wherein he acted like a “high schooler.”
That incident—involving a kissing sketch, a creepy photo, and the right-wing celebrity Leeann Tweeden—indeed contained a number of inconsistencies, according to an in-depth report by The New Yorker’s Jane Mayer. But what Maher and a number of other liberals fail to realize is that Franken was accused of more than just this one incident of unwanted kissing and touching—including a damning allegation where Franken is said to have tried to forcibly kiss a Democratic congressional aide following a taping of his radio show in 2006.
“He was between me and the door, and he was coming at me to kiss me,” the aide told Politico. “It was very quick, and I think my brain had to work really hard to be like, ‘Wait, what is happening?’ But I knew whatever was happening was not right, and I ducked. I was really startled by it, and I just sort of booked it towards the door, and he said, ‘It’s my right as an entertainer.’” (Franken denied it happened.)
So it’s strange that Maher would have Franken as the night’s big guest on his HBO program on the eve of the 2020 presidential election, as Democrats try to vote out a man who’s accused of sexual misconduct by over 20 women. Why?
“You’re one of the few liberals that the military likes…You’ve played many USO shows, you’re welcome there, they trust you, they like you. What’s your assessment if they have to get involved?” Maher asked Franken about what will happen if Trump refuses to leave the White House.
“Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Milley will take him out,” Franken replied.
At this point, one would expect a segue into the allegations against Franken—given that the Tweeden incident allegedly occurred during a USO Tour—but Maher refused to address the gigantic elephant in the room, instead giving his buddy a pass on his history of alleged unsavory behavior and whitewashing his past.
Toward the end of their awkward chat, which saw Franken stumble through several jokes and Maher chide him for being “rusty,” the host posed the question: “How do we get back to normal?”
“That’s such a great question. The answer is that we probably can’t, because there’s two universes of information,” offered Franken, before citing his books on Rush Limbaugh and Fox News. “It it weren’t for Rush, Trump wouldn’t have been in there.”
Well, one way we could try to get back to normal is by not giving anyone—Trump, Franken, you name it—a pass on allegations of impropriety.