He went on to say he felt confident he had represented the people of Minnesota well. “I know in my heart, nothing that I have done as a senator, nothing, has brought dishonor on this institution, and I am confident that the Ethics Committee would agree,” he said.
He also said he was “shocked” and “upset” by the harassment allegations and that in responding to the claims, he may have given people the “false impression” that he was admitting to any of the accusations. He added that he planned to continue to be a “champion” for women and would be active outside of the Senate.
“Even on the worst day of my political life, I feel like it has all been worth it,” he said. “Politics, Paul Wellstone told us, is about the improvement of people’s lives. I know that the work I have been able to do has improved people’s lives. I would do it all over again in a heartbeat.”
Nearly all of the Senate’s Democratic women — and most Democratic men, including the Senate’s top two Democrats — called for Mr. Franken to resign after a sixth woman came forward to charge that he had made an improper advance on her.
“Enough is enough,” declared Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Democrat of New York.
The accusations against Mr. Franken include an episode of forcible kissing on a U.S.O. tour before he was elected and several allegations that he groped women as he posed with them for photographs.
“This decision is not about me,” he said Thursday. “It is about the people of Minnesota.”
Over the last three weeks, Mr. Franken has repeatedly apologized for his behavior, although he has also challenged some of the accusations of impropriety lodged against him. Until Wednesday, he had said he would remain in his job and work with a Senate Ethics Committee investigation of his case.
But his Democratic colleagues in the Senate made clear on Wednesday that his apologies and admissions were not enough.
Still on Thursday, dozens of Mr. Franken’s Democratic colleagues, including many who just a day before made his political future in the Senate all but impossible, gathered on the Senate floor to watch his remarks, along with members of Mr. Franken’s staff and family. One by one, they rose to embrace him.
Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona, the only Republican on the floor of the chamber, said, “He is my friend and he did he right thing.”
Moments after Mr. Franken’s remarks, Senator Tammy Duckworth, Democrat of Illinois, said she wanted to thank him “for doing the right thing.”
Leaving the Capitol shortly after, Mr. Franken said he would not be taking questions.
“I’ll be coming home,” he said when asked if he had a message for his home state.
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