As reports came in Monday morning of another woman claiming she was groped by Minnesota Senator Al Franken, MSNBC anchor Stephanie Ruhle seemed to downplay the new allegations against the Democratic lawmaker. She warned that judging Franken’s behavior too harshly would lead down a “slippery slope.”
Filling in for Hallie Jackson in the 10 a.m. ET hour, Ruhle declared: “This story could be true, Al Franken is saying he doesn’t remember it. How slippery a – ” At that point, she interrupted herself to assure viewers: “...and again, I am not excusing that behavior.” The host continued: “How slippery a slope is it?”
“I’m just speaking as somebody who spent 15 years of her life working on Wall Street. But if we’re gonna start to go after everyone in every power industry for something like a butt slap, I’m worried that there’s going to be no one left running anything,” she proclaimed.
Ruhle’s commentary echoed how her MSNBC colleague Kasie Hunt reported the first accusations against Franken on Thursday: “[Franken] took a picture, which his office now says was of a joke, that showed him potentially – not actually groping – but mock-groping her while she was asleep.”
Here is a transcript of Ruhle’s November 20 remarks:
10:12 AM ET
STEPHANIE RUHLE: Alright, also this morning, there’s a new report that Senator Al Franken grabbed a woman’s behind at a fair back in 2010. He says he doesn’t remember doing it and he apologized to the woman if she felt disrespected. NBC News has not confirmed where this – has not confirmed this yet.
Rick, I turn to you. This story could be true, Al Franken is saying he doesn’t remember it. How slippery a – and again, I am not excusing that behavior.
RICK TYLER: Of course not.
RUHLE: How slippery a slope is it? I mean, again, I’m just speaking as somebody who spent 15 years of her life working on Wall Street. But if we’re gonna start to go after everyone in every power industry for something like a butt slap, I’m worried that there’s going to be no one left running anything.
TYLER: Yeah, that may be true. And so, I mean, Al Franken, in a way, demonstrated like if you offend someone in this way – in which he did apologize – and it’s always, are there going to be more people who come out? And it remains to be seen. Now he says he doesn’t remember it, but has apologized for it, I think that’s a little strange. Because when you have – usually these things establish a pattern.