Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., sent a letter Friday to embattled San Diego Mayor and fellow Democrat Bob Filner, urging him to resign.
Boxer’s letter was written on a personal level, though her office provided it to reporters as “an open letter.”
Filner stands accused of sexual harassment by a growing list of women who say he attempted to use his office to get them to go on dates with him. Other women said Filner tried to kiss or grope them.
Filner has refused to resign and said he is receiving treatment to address his behavior.
“Dear Bob,” Boxer’s letter begins. “We’ve known each other for a long time, and have worked together on many issues that are important to the people of San Diego — from creating jobs to protecting the environment to helping our veterans. So I am speaking to you now on a personal and professional level, and asking you to step down as mayor and get the help you need as a private citizen.”
Filner’s behavior and his refusal to step down have been an embarrassment for Democrats, undercutting their argument that it is the Republicans who are engaged in a “war on women.”
The scandal has gained attention at the same time that New York City Democratic mayoral candidate and former House member Anthony Weiner admitted to more sexting with women outside his marriage.
Conservatives have accused Democratic leaders of ignoring FIlner’s behavior and some have even suggested they covered up knowledge of his problem while he was in Congress. Filner served in the House for two decades.
Boxer and Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., have called on Filner to resign. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., head of the Democratic National Committee, and Rep. Susan Davis, D-Calif., have also called for his resignation.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said Filner should get therapy, “in private.”
At a recent press conference, Pelosi bristled when asked about Filner, telling a reporter, “Don’t identify him as my former colleague.”
But he worked closely with Pelosi as a fellow liberal, and was appointed by her to head the Veterans Affairs Committee in the 110th Congress.
He was investigated by the House ethics panel in 2007 over a scuffle with an airline employee.
As for the sexual harassment charges, Filner said he has done nothing wrong and has described himself as “a hugger.”
Here is a copy of the letter from Boxer:
We’ve known each other for a long time, and have worked together on many issues that are important to the people of San Diego – from creating jobs to protecting the environment to helping our veterans.
So I am speaking to you now on a personal and professional level, and asking you to step down as mayor and get the help you need as a private citizen.
I have already said publicly that you should resign your office as mayor because of the shocking revelations by many women about your behavior toward them.
But now I must say this directly to you: Bob, you must resign because you have betrayed the trust of the women you have victimized, the San Diegans you represent and the people you have worked with throughout your decades in public life.
I have worked for so many years to prevent and punish sexual violence and sexual harassment, wherever they occur. As we fight in the Senate to stand up for the men and women in our military who are survivors of sexual assault, I have heard their stories, seen the anguish in their faces, listened to them talk about the pain that will always be with them. Let me be clear: The latest revelations regarding your behavior toward women recovering from sexual assault – women who desperately need our help – have shaken me to my core.
Bob, you have already hurt so many people. To avoid hurting your victims and the people of San Diego more than you already have, you should step down immediately.