Al Franken rips Trump in farewell speech to Senate

Outgoing Sen. Al Franken used his final speech as a U.S. senator to thank family, staff and Democratic colleagues — and to excoriate President Trump.

Over the course of a 40-minute speech on the Senate floor on Thursday, the Minnesota Democrat, who is stepping down next month following allegations of inappropriate touching made by multiple women, tore into Trump and Republicans over their “attacks” on voting rights, LGBT rights, science, health care and — most recently — the middle class.

“During his inaugural address, President Trump vowed that ‘the forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer,’” Franken said. “But the Republican tax bill represents a slap in the face to those forgotten men and women. I guess the president forgot about them.”

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Al Franken through the years
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 1: Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) speaks during a meeting of the Senate Judiciary Committee to vote on the nomination of Attorney General nominee Jeff Sessions, on Capitol Hill, February 1, 2017 in Washington, DC. Sessions was approved by the committee in an 11 to 9 vote. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Bumble Bee Al Franken (Photo by Owen Franken/Corbis via Getty Images)
SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE -- Episode 3 -- Pictured: Al Franken during 'The Franken and Davis Show' skit on October 21, 1978 -- Photo by: Alan Singer/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank
NEW YORK CITY - JUNE 19: Al Franken attends City Fair Benefit for Cystic Fibrosis on June 19, 1983 at Bloomingdale's in New York City. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
Backstage with Al Franken at the Shadow Convention. (Photo by Rebecca D'Angelo/Sygma via Getty Images)
Actor Al Franken relaxing at Kaufman Astoria Studios. (Photo by James Leynse/Corbis via Getty Images)
NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 28: Al Franken attends the New York Friars Club Roast September 28, 2002 in New York City. The black-tie annual event was held in honor of Chevy Chase at the New York Hilton. (Photo by Graham Morrison/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - AUGUST 21: Al Franken's new book 'Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right' is seen August 21, 2003 in New York City. Fox News is suing the Franken and publisher Penguin arguing that the book's use of the phrase 'Fair and Balanced' is a trademark infringement. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
BOSTON - JULY 28: Political humorist Al Franken does a television interview on the floor of the FleetCenter on the third day of the Democratic National Convention July 28, 2004 in Boston, Massachusetts. Under heavy security, Democratic presidential candidate U.S. Senator John Kerry (D-MA) is expected to accept his party's nomination later in the week. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Al Franken of the Air America Network reporting on the floor of the Republican National Convention during the second night at Madison Square Garden. (Photo by Ted Soqui/Corbis via Getty Images)
Al Franken at Earth to America! which airs on TBS Sunday, November 20 at 8 p.m. 10423MC_16017.JPG (Photo by M. Caulfield/WireImage for Temp Account)
LOS ANGELES - MARCH 25: Comedian and talk show host Al Franken was honored with the Humanitarian Award at the Human Rights Campaign's Gala Dinner at the Century Plaza Hotel on March 25, 2006 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
Actor and comedian Al Franken waves flag May 9, 2006, prior to his lecture at the 92nd Street Y in New York, NY. (Photo by Tim Boxer/Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS, MN -OCTOBER 21: U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton and U.S. Senate candidate Al Franken wave to the crowd at a rally October 21, 2008 at the McNamara Alumni Center at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Clinton told the crowd of more than 2,000 that Franken needs to win in order secure the 60 Senate seats needed to overcome a Republican filibuster. (Photo by Cory Ryan/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON - JANUARY 21: Minnesota Democratic senate hopeful Al Franken is shown at a meeting with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) on January 21, 2009 in Washington, DC. Franken and his opponent, incumbent Sen. Norm Coleman (R-MN), who held a slender lead following the election, are currently locked in a legal battle over a recount that put Franken ahead by 225 votes out of 2.9 million cast. (Photo by Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON - JULY 07: US Senator Al Franken (D-MN) (R) hugs a friend during a swearing in reenactment ceremony on Capitol Hill July 6, 2009 in Washington, DC. Last month a Minnesota court ruled that Al Franken won the Minnesota senate seat beating out Senator Norm Coleman (R-MN). (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) speaks during the confirmation hearings for Judge Sonia Sotomayor before the Senate Judiciary Committee July 13, 2009 in Washington, DC. Sotomayor, now an appeals court judge and US President Barack Obama?s first Supreme Court nominee, will become the first Hispanic justice on the Supreme Court if confirmed. AFP PHOTO/Nicholas KAMM (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
US Senator Al Franken, a Democrat from Minnesota, listens to testimony on medical debt and bankruptcy before the US Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Administrative Oversight and the Courts on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, October 20, 2009. AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
Minnesota Senator Al Franken works on his laptop in Washington DC. (Photo by Owen Franken/Corbis via Getty Images)
Democratic US Senator for Minnesota Al Franken in his Capitol Hill office in Washington. (Photo by Brooks Kraft LLC/Corbis via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - MAY 23: Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., listens to testimony from Melodee Hanes, acting administrator of the Justice Department's Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, at a Senate Judiciary Administrative Oversight and the Courts Subcommittee hearing on Protecting Our Children: The Importance of Training Child Protection Professionals.' (Photo by Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call)
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 11: Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) speaks during a women's pro-choice rally on Capitol Hill, July 11, 2013 in Washington, DC. The rally was hosted by Planned Parenthood Federation of America to urge Congress against passing any legislation to limit access to safe and legal abortion. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 4: Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) speaks at a news conference to discuss the Affordable Care Act case being heard at the Supreme Court, on Capitol Hill in Washington, March 4, 2015 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Today the Supreme Court was scheduled to hear oral arguments in the case of King v. Burwell that could determine the fate of health care subsidies for as many as eight million people. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, USA - JULY 8: Senator Al Franken during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Going Dark and data encryption in Washington, USA on JULY 8, 2015. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 13: United States Senator Al Franken attends the 2016 Writers Guild Awards New York ceremony at The Edison Ballroom on February 13, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Jim Spellman/WireImage)
UNITED STATES - APRIL 07: Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., is interviewed by Roll Call in his Capitol hideaway about his upcoming Jeopardy appearance, April, 07, 2016. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 9: Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) speaks to reporters at a news conference dubbed #WeThePeople outside the Capitol on June 9, 2016 in Washington, D.C. Senate Democrats unveiled a new legislative proposal that will reform campaign finances and ensure fairer elections. (Photo by Gabriella Demczuk/Getty Images)
US Senator Al Franken gestures during Day 1 of the Democratic National Convention at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, July 25, 2016. / AFP / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
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Franken decried what he described as the repeated “lies” of the Trump administration, including the president’s baseless claim that millions of people voted illegally in the 2016 election.

“It’s all based on a lie — and not a lie President Trump came up with,” Franken said. “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 [found] demonstrating that it is a real problem.”

The same, Franken said, goes for the administration’s policies affecting the LGBT community.

“Lurking behind these policies are lies,” he said. “Lies that the advocates of LGBT rights want to trample on people’s religious freedom. The lie that families led by a gay or lesbian couple don’t provide a safe environment for children. The lie that allowing transgender people to use the appropriate bathroom opens the door to sexual assault. President Trump didn’t invent these lies. But he and his administration proudly repeat them.”

Franken also lamented Trump’s “attacks on science,” citing a recent Washington Post report that the Trump administration had prohibited the Centers for Disease Control from using such terms as “evidence-based” and “science-based.”

“We now have enough evidence to conclude that climate change is real and it is man-made and it is a threat to our nation’s security and an existential threat to the planet,” Franken said. “President Trump didn’t launch the war on science, but now he’s leading the charge.”

Franken, who is stepping down on Jan. 2, praised his replacement, Minnesota Lt. Gov. Tina Smith, as a worthy successor.

“I have no doubt Sen. Smith will serve Minnesotans and all Americans well,” Franken said.

Franken did not mention the allegations of sexual misconduct that led to his resignation. In a speech on the Senate floor announcing his intention to step down earlier this month, Franken insisted that some of the claims were not true and others he remembered differently.

“There is some irony that I am leaving while a man who bragged on tape about his history of sexual assault sits in the Oval Office, and a man who preyed on young girls runs for Senate with the full support of his party,” Franken said then, referencing Trump and Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore.

He concluded Thursday’s speech on a positive note.

“Politics is about the improvement of people’s lives,” Franken said. “The American people know that to be true. And they fill me with hope for our future.”

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