The Arizona congressman Trent Franks has announced he will resign from Congress at the end of January after discussing child surrogacy with female staff members.This is not sexual harassment by any definition in use before 2017. He did not make sexual advances, did not touch a woman, did not discuss any sexual acts, and did not persist. Sexual harassment means persisting in some sexual behavior of some kind.
“I have recently learned that the Ethics Committee is reviewing an inquiry regarding my discussion of surrogacy with two previous female subordinates, making each feel uncomfortable,” Franks said in a statement on Thursday. “I deeply regret that my discussion of this option and process in the workplace caused distress.”
However, the Arizona Republican insisted, “I want to make one thing completely clear. I have absolutely never physically intimidated, coerced or had, or attempted to have, any sexual contact with any member of my congressional staff.” ...
The House speaker, Paul Ryan, said in a statement that on 29 November he had been “briefed on credible claims of misconduct by Rep. Trent Franks” that he found “serious and requiring action”. He also said that Franks, when presented with the accusations, did not deny them and that Ryan told him he should resign.
So what's the problem? Two women felt uncomfortable by the conversation? How is he supposed to know that some ordinary topic of conversation is going to touch on their neuroses and anxieties?
This is pretty crazy. A congressman needs to have staff who can discuss controversial issues of the day, without freaking out.
Now he says he is quitting, because he was not sufficiently sensitive to how a staff woman might react to a personal subject. Here is more detail:
Franks, a staunch conservative, asked two 'female subordinates' to bear his child in 2011, three years after he and his wife had twins using a donor egg and a surrogate. ...Note that this conversation occurred in 2011! If the women do not approve of surrogacy, then why were they working for him? The process is completely legal, in most states.
The Associated Press spoke to one of them, who said Franks offered her money – ultimately, $5 million – on four separate occasions if she were willing to carry his child. ...
He explained that he and his Filipina wife Josephine chose the surrogate method after struggling with infertility and experiencing three miscarriages.
When his twins were three years old they kept asking for another sibling and that's when he approached his staffers about surrogacy.
And what's the matter with Paul Ryan? That guy is disgusting in almost everything he does. I guess child surrogacy is one of those subjects that some women are hyper-sensitive about, like abortion, menstruation, venereal disease, and adoption.
The accusations against Al Franken are fairly trivial also. He is one of the biggest jerks in Senate. Many say he stole his election. I've seen clips of him asking questions in committee hearing, and he is just a blustering moron. Maybe that is part of why his colleagues are making him resign.