Basically, it’s a mess

Dear President Trump,

We’ll see how it ends up playing out, but it was interesting and frankly quite awful to learn today that Leann Tweeden is a regular on Sean Hannity’s show, that the USO skit she said Franken modified to include a kiss had the kiss bit in it three years before they performed it, and that the picture of her asleep on the plane with Franken’s hands over her breasts was photoshopped three years after it was taken.

As sad and dismayed as I felt about the idea that Al Franken had been sexually inappropriate with a co-worker, it is actually more disturbing to think that a woman might be strategically and cynically weaponizing incorrect accusations of sexual misconduct, or worse, that she is being used by powerful men who not only want to take Franken down but want to sow confusion and lay the groundwork for undermining other women’s allegations. This may be reading too much into the situation and over complicating things but here are my concerns: 1) if Tweeden is lying about the forced kiss and the original photograph shows Franken was not actually touching her (and thus guilty of incredibly poor taste but not assault) then this is a vicious smear campaign against a solid senator with a strong progressive track record; 2) even if Tweeden is shown to be lying, enough people will be convinced of Franken’s guilt that his career is ruined; 3) if Franken does not resign his seat and chooses to run for re-election with support from other Democrats, they will be blamed and maligned for not believing the woman and allowing an alleged bad guy to stay in office, and 4) if Tweeden is called out for lying it gives more fuel to those on the right who are defending men like you and Moore to be able to say the women accusing you two are lying. Basically, it’s a mess and if it is an orchestrated mess, it’s quite brilliant, tactically. Sick, but brilliant. No matter which way Franken and the Democrats go, you all get to use it against him/us and either way, you get to use it far beyond him.

Hopefully some very smart people will see through all this and will figure out a way to put what’s happened in it’s proper place so it can’t be used as a bludgeon.

May we be safe to see the truth.
May we be happy to play fair.
May we be healthy in our dealings with one another.
May our lives unfold and intersect with dignity and respect.

Sincerely,
Tracy Simpson

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