Conservative champion Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) unexpectedly announced his resignation tonight, effective Jan. 31 in the new year. If the reason for his departure stated in a Washington Times article is correct, Franks is being railroaded by GOP leadership for the sake of crass political expediency.
Franks and his wife have dealt with infertility by having twins through a surrogate mother, and he acknowledges discussing surrogacy around the office. He just recently learned that these discussions made two female staff members “uncomfortable.”
“We are in an unusual moment in history – there is a collective focus on a very important problem of justice and sexual impropriety. It is so important that we get this right for everyone, especially for victims,” Franks told the Washington Times.
“But in the midst of this current cultural and media climate, I am deeply convinced I would be unable to complete a fair House Ethics investigation before distorted and sensationalized versions of this story would put me, my family, my staff, and my noble colleagues in the House of Representatives through hyperbolized public excoriation,” he said.
Apparently with the ever-expanding definition of sexual harassment, merely chatting about reproductive health is now a crime.
House Speaker Paul Ryan’s (R-Wisc.) office said the complaints against Franks were “credible” and that Ryan asked Franks to resign.
Assuming Franks is telling the truth and there’s not a lot more to this story, this is a travesty.