Not An Isolated Incident: Mike Franken’s Troubling Record of Extreme Disrespect Toward Women

Following allegations of assault by Mike Franken’s former campaign manager and his refusal to release his accuser from her NDA—which she claims Franken used to silence her—it’s worth revisiting Franken’s troubling record of extreme disrespect toward women.

This morning, the Grassley Works campaign released a new campaign ad highlighting Franken’s disparaging comments toward Iowa’s women, including Governor Kim Reynolds, who he implied was a witch on multiple occasions.

As Iowa Field Report noted, Franken repeatedly has “1950s interactions with women,” according to his accuser, and his unwanted advances are “something that [Franken] has done to several other women.”

Mike Franken’s former campaign manager isn’t the only one to allege that he is a serial perpetrator of unwanted advances and inappropriate behavior. As progressive Des Moines activist Jaylen Cavil noted, “I had heard things like this about [Mike Franken] for a while.”

So it wasn’t any surprise that the same day details of the police report broke, Mike Franken was touting his endorsement from disgraced ex-Senator Al Franken, who was forced by his fellow Democrats to resign for his sexual misconduct.

In a since-deleted tweet, Mike Franken tweeted at Al Franken on April 5, 2019, and said, “Wondering why you left your seat. Run again, please.” 

Mike Franken has a long history of disrespect toward women and a refusal to see women as equal and independent. At an event in Denison, Franken said Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas should control his wife and dictate what she is or isn’t allowed to say and do. “You let your wife act like this?” Franken said.

Mike Franken does not respect women in positions of power. He has repeatedly referenced Governor Reynolds as a witch, saying she “needs to get on her broom and fly away.” And his comments weren’t limited to Iowa’s first female governor. He also made sexist remarks about Sen. Joni Ernst, Iowa’s first female U.S. senator and first female combat veteran to serve in the U.S. Senate, diminishing her career and saying she would “follow his lead” if elected and “see [his] big wrath.”

Mike Franken’s sexist remarks haven’t been limited to elected women leaders or to his alleged victims. He’s disrespected all women in rural Iowa by saying, “What I see in rural Iowa is a forlornness in the eyes, an emptiness which I see in South Sudan…mostly in women who just look void.”

As EMILY’s List, a Democratic political action committee focused on electing women, stated: “Iowa Democrats should not trust…Michael Franken.”

Bottom line: the revelations made public in the police report detailing Mike Franken’s alleged assault on his former campaign manager are merely the latest examples in a serial mindset of misogyny and sexism toward women and extreme disrespect toward the women of Iowa.