Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., who has said he would step down on Jan. 2 in the wake of sexual assault allegations against him that he has denied, said in his farewell speech Thursday that he's worried Americans are increasingly unable to have rational political debate based on the same set of facts.
"As I leave the Senate, I feel I have to admit that it feels like we're losing the war for truth," he said on the Senate floor. "And maybe it's already lost."
"And if that's the case, if that's what happens, then we have lost the ability to have the kinds of argument that helps build consensus," he said.
Franken was forced out by many of his fellow Democrats after eight women accused him of sexual assault and groping. But Franken never acknowledged those incidents in several public appearances since.
Franken said it would be up to American voters to help restore truthful debate in Washington.
"We will always have the Democracy we deserve, if not the government we want," he said. "It's going to take ordinary Americans deciding to become more informed consumers of political news and opinion, and deciding that they're willing to be part of the argument themselves, instead of simply tuning out all of the noise."
"And if they do, I know that we will get this country back on track," Franken said.
Several Democrats praised Franken's tenure in the Senate after he spoke, but many of the women Democratic senators who called on him to resign were not in the chamber.
Franken took several shots at President Trump, and accused him of abandoning his support for the middle class by pushing for this week's tax cut bill. Republicans have accused Democrats of misrepresenting the bill all week, and say it will cut taxes for people at all income levels.