Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich defended Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., on Wednesday, commenting on how “comedians often do weird things," as the former "Saturday Night Live" cast member is set to make an announcement Thursday amid calls for him to resign as allegations of sexual misconduct pile up.
“To the best of my knowledge, even the one which broke today, the horrifying last straw which led [Senate Minority Leader Chuck] Schumer to decide as a great New Yorker that he had to suddenly stand on the side of puritanism. Pretty bizarre,” Gingrich told Fox News host Laura Ingraham. “As I understand it, that occurred two years ago when he was a comedian. Al Franken was a comedian. Comedians often do weird things. He was in the entertainment business. He was doing the kind of things people in the entertainment business do.”
Ingraham noted how she’s tried to lose track of the allegations and said, “I think it’s minor stuff.”
The interview took place after two more women came forward on Wednesday to accuse Franken of allegations of sexual misconduct. The first woman was a former congressional aide and said that Franken had attempted to forcibly kiss her following a taping of his radio show — two years before he was elected senator — in 2006.
In light of that allegation, a flood of Democratic senators, including Schumer, D-N.Y., called for Franken to resign. Another woman came forward later in the day, accusing the senator of "inappropriate and unwanted" touching.
Earlier in the interview, Gingrich described the increasing number of calls for Franken to resign as a “lynch mob” against Franken.
“What you saw today was a lynch mob,” Gingrich said. “Let's not have due process, let's not ask anybody any questions, let's not have any chance to have a hearing. Let’s just lynch him.”
“I just want everyone watching to understand that Newt Gingrich is here tonight and he is standing up for Al Franken,” Ingraham noted during the interview.
Franken said Wednesday he will make an announcement Thursday, but has denied reports that he has already made up his mind about whether to resign.