ICYMI: Mike Franken Shrugs Off Sexual Assault Discrepancies During His Command
"Retired Navy Rear Adm. Mike Franken, the Democrat candidate running against Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), recently shrugged off apparent discrepancies in military sexual assault figures that occurred in Africa while he was deputy commander of Africa Command.
Franken was asked by the Des Moines Register on Friday about a report by The Intercept, which showed the Pentagon reported only 73 reported sexual assaults under Africom between 2010 to 2020 — when there were actually 158 reports of sexual offenses during that time.
According to the newspaper, Franken said he did not know the specifics of the Intercept’s report and praised the Navy’s training program and efforts on sexual misconduct.
'We’ve got an extensive training program,' he told the outlet. 'And, matter of fact, oftentimes people complain how much time we spend on this, but it’s actually good time because it says we treat everybody equal.'
He also recited longtime Pentagon talking points that there is “zero tolerance” for sexual assault in the military.
'I used to talk to every person who served under me and say, "These are the standards. We’ve got zero tolerance. Zero,"' Franken said, before calling it a political attack.
'What’s happening, though, with this most recent article that they bring forward from the Intercept is a politicalization of something that they’re trying to highlight because they have no other way to come after me,' he said.
Republican Party of Iowa Communications Director Kollin Crompton said in a statement about Franken’s response, 'Franken is deflecting from Iowans trying to hold his feet to the fire. The "extensive" training that Franken touts, obviously didn’t help these victims.'
'Franken needs to start telling Iowans what he knew and when,' he said.
The Pentagon has struggled to reduce sexual assault within its ranks, with sexual assault cases jumping 13 percent in fiscal year 2021, which includes eight months under the Biden administration."
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