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Donald Trump

‘Some say he’s not right, mentally’: Senator Al Franken says colleagues worry about Trump

PUBLISHED : Monday, 13 February, 2017, 10:05am
UPDATED : Monday, 13 February, 2017, 10:25pm

US Senator Al Franken says some of his fellow senators think Donald Trump is “not right mentally”.

“A few” Republicans are so concerned, the Minnesota Democrat told CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday. “It’s not the majority of them, it’s a few.”

Such concerns are expressed, he said, “in the way all of us have this suspicion. He lies a lot, he says things that aren’t true, that’s the same as lying I guess”.

Franken singled out Trump’s oft-repeated, evidence-free claims that mass voter fraud cost him a popular vote victory against Hillary Clinton. Clinton won nearly three million more ballots than Trump in November but lost in the electoral college.

“Y’know,” Franken added, “three to five million people voted illegally, there was a new one about people going in from Massachusetts to New Hampshire…

“That is not the norm for a president of the United States or actually for a human being.”

Franken first mentioned concerns in the Senate in an appearance on HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher on Friday. Asked what senators said about Trump “behind closed doors”, he said: “There’s a range in what they’ll say, and some will say that he’s not right, mentally.

“And then some are harsher.”

He added: “That’s not fair. That was cheap. There are some who I guess don’t talk to me. I haven’t heard a lot of good things, and I’ve heard great concern about the president’s temperament.”

Franken also said he would have spoken up if he had been in the room this week when Trump reportedly told a group of Democratic senators: “Pocahontas is now the face of your party.”

“Pocahontas” is the president’s derogatory nickname for Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, a prominent critic who has claimed Native American heritage.

“I heard this from a couple of my colleagues who were there and I would have said something,” Franken said. “[I would have said] ‘Mr President, with all due respect that’s racist, please stop doing that, I am on [the committee on] Indian affairs, this is completely unacceptable.

“You really should stop doing this, it doesn’t serve anybody. Something like that.”

The senator, formerly a writer and performer on Saturday Night Live, was asked if he ever thought about running for president himself because, in the words and actions of his most famous SNL character, he found himself looking in the mirror and saying “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it, people like me”.

“No,” Franken deadpanned. “That’s never happened … but I appreciated the shoutout to my character. Stuart Smalley was an extremely popular character on Saturday Night Live.”