Minnesota Sen. Al Franken used the final Senate floor speech before his resignation to list of President Donald Trump’s many, many lies as he called for his colleagues to “stand up for truth.”
Franken, who is resigning in January after a number of sexual misconduct allegations, noted that Trump did not create the lies he’s peddling, but he is now certainly leading the propaganda effort.
“As I leave the Senate, I have to admit that it feels like we are losing the war for truth,” he said. “Maybe it’s already lost.”
Franken noted the repeated lies that Trump and the Republicans said while claiming their massive tax cut for corporations and the rich is actually designed to help the middle-class, who will see their taxes increased once cuts expire and see their healthcare costs skyrocket as a result of the repeal of the Obamacare individual mandate, which experts warn will greatly destabilize healthcare markets.
“Those same wealthy donors also demand that Republicans turn a blind eye to climate change—an existential threat to humanity,” Franken said. “Climate change is not just an environmental problem, climate change stands to affect virtually every aspect of our lives, posing a grave threat to public health, national security, our country’s infrastructure, and our economy. Circumstances require that we take immediate action in order to protect the welfare of future generations.”
“But almost every Republican in Congress refused to take the issue of climate change seriously,” he continued. “They continue to deny the underlying evidence and science behind it, even as Americans suffer the devastating consequences of their denial.”
“The Trump administration and its allies in Congress have never let science or common sense stand in the way of ideology,” he said. “Time and time again, they have acted to roll back evidence-based, common sense protections put in place to improve the lives of minority or marginalized communities, including women and LGBT people.”
He listed a number of Trump administration attacks on women and the LGBT community, including scrapping protections for transgender students and trying to eliminate the Obamacare birth control mandate.
He went on to slam Trump for claiming that he lost the popular vote because of three to five million illegal voters.
“138 million votes were cast in the 2016 presidential election,” he said. “State election and law enforcement officials found virtually no credible evidence of fraud, and no states—not one state—reported any indications of widespread fraud. None. But that didn’t stop the Trump administration from quickly turning the president’s tweets into policy.”
“This episode could almost be considered funny, if the ramifications weren’t so deadly serious,” he noted. “Kobach’s voter fraud commission requested sensitive information about voters—including the names, dates of birth, party registration, and voting history—from all 50 states. This is information that could lay the groundwork for disenfranchising scores of eligible voters, which is why more than 40 states refused to comply with that request.”
“And it’s all based on a lie—and not a lie President Trump came up with,” he pointed out. “Right-wing conservatives have been raising a false alarm about so-called “voter fraud” for years, despite the fact that no credible evidence has ever been produced demonstrating that it is a real problem.”
“President Trump didn’t invent these lies. But he and his administration proudly repeat them,” Franken said. “President Trump didn’t launch the war on science. But now he’s leading the charge.”
“So what is to be done?” Franken asked. “Who will stand up and fight for a more honest debate — to insist that, even though we have a different set of opinions, we cannot honorably advance our competing agendas unless we use the same set of facts?”
Well, I hope that my colleagues—on both sides of the aisle—will stand up for truth,” he added.
Democratic Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton has tabbed his Lt. Gov. Tina Smith as Franken’s replacement.
“I take great comfort in knowing that my successor, Senator-Designate Tina Smith, has a well-earned reputation for being a smart, diligent, hardworking public servant and I have no doubt she will serve Minnesotans and all Americans exceptionally well,” Franken said Thursday.
Watch his full speech below: