Even though Al Franken is out of the U.S. Senate and his successor -- Democratic Senator Tina Smith -- has already assumed office, CNN host Alisyn Camerota is still finding reasons to ask if it really was appropriate for him to resign over sexual harassment accusations.
As Smith appeared as a guest on Monday's New Day show, early in the interview, the CNN host posed: "I do want to get to all of those issues and your agenda in a moment, but first, because you replaced Al Franken and there was so much, you know, emotion around him resigning, do you think that he should have resigned?"
After Senator Smith responded that she "respects" her predecessor's decision, Camerota brought up an angry Democratic donor as the CNN host further pressed: "A lot of his Democratic colleagues felt that it was too hasty" and donor Susie Tompkins Buell wanted to punish people who demanded Franken resign.
After Senator Smith predicted that the sexual harassment situation might improve for women, and referred to Oprah Winfrey's speech at the Golden Globes, Camerota followed up by asking about Oprah. Camerota: "Do you think Oprah is going to run for President?"
Earlier on in the three-hour New Day show, there were several segments that dealt with Oprah's speech and talk of whether she would run for President in 2020, totaling more than 20 minutes overall across four segments.
Below is a transcript of relevant portions of the Monday, January 8, New Day on CNN:
ALISYN CAMEROTA: And I do want to get to all of those issues and your agenda in a moment, but first, because you replaced Al Franken and there was so much, you know, emotion around him resigning, do you think that he should have resigned?
SENATOR TINA SMITH (D-MN): Well, I know from having spoken to Al many times -- first of all, I want to say that Al was a really strong Senator for Minnesota. He advocated so well for us. And I also know that the decison that he made to resign was the decision that he felt was for the best thing for Minnesota, and I respect the decision that he made. And now it's up to me to move forward, and that's what I'm going to do.
CAMEROTA: I mean, a lot -- look, I don't have to tell you -- a lot of his Democratic colleagues felt that it was too hasty and that he should have stayed, he should have waited out the ethics commission. And there were repercussions of his resignation, I mean, not just obviously you sitting there, but just this weekend, one prominent Democratic donor -- Susie Tompkins Buell -- says she's considering withdrawing financial support from any Democrats who encouraged Al Franken to resign. So what do you think?
SENATOR SMITH: There are a lot of feelings about this. There are no doubting. What I've noticed is that there are a lot of feelings on both sides, and I really respect that. But I think that the question now is: How do we move forward? And I am 100 percent sure that Al made the decision that he thought was best.
And I think it's also really interesting that this question of how women ought to be treated in their workplaces, what kind of respect they ought to get -- whether they work in corporate board rooms or they work in hotel cleaning rooms -- I think what was so strong about what Oprah Winfrey said last night is this issue is really galvanizing people, and I believe we're at a tipping point in this country, and that that is a really good thing. And it's being driven, I think, by young women who are saying, "We shouldn't have to put up with this anymore."