Goodbye, Trent Franks: 10 Reasons Why Arizona Won't Miss You | Phoenix New Times


Buh-Bye, Trent Franks: 10 Reasons Why Arizona Won't Miss You

Among other things, he said African-Americans were better off under slavery than under a government that allows abortion.
Arizona Congressman Trent Franks resigned Friday, ahead of schedule.
Arizona Congressman Trent Franks resigned Friday, ahead of schedule. Gage Skidmore/flickr
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Trent Franks, buh-bye.

You made tons of money in the oil and gas industry, becoming one of the wealthiest members of Congress. You represented Surprise, Sun City West, and Glendale in the U.S. House of Representatives since 2003. And you're the latest man in power to be felled by sexual harassment allegations.

The Associated Press reported that a former aide to Franks says the congressman "repeatedly pressed her to carry his child, at one point offering her $5 million to act as a surrogate."

Politico also reported on Friday afternoon, citing GOP sources, that Franks made unwanted advances on the women who worked in his office, including approaching two female staffers about acting as a surrogate for him and his wife. The women were allegedly concerned that Franks, an anti-abortion hardliner, was asking to have sex with them, and weren't sure if he meant another method such as in vitro fertilization.

Reportedly, Franks had a female aide "read an article that described how a person knows they're in love with someone, the sources said." One woman also says Franks retaliated against her after his harassment was "rebuffed" and she was no longer given access to the congressman.

Franks originally was scheduled to resign in January, but with Politico's story in the works, he resigned today ahead of schedule, after his wife was admitted to the hospital. A spokesperson for Franks denied all of the allegations to Politico.

According to Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, after he was briefed on the "credible claims of misconduct" against Franks, Ryan asked the Arizona congressman to resign.

We may have to wait to learn more details about Franks' alleged actions and sexual misconduct. But one thing is certain: Arizona won't miss the congressman.

Let us count the reasons why:

1. Franks was an anti-abortion crusader in the House and in many ways, it was his signature issue. As a result, he's made a variety of stunningly offensive and ignorant remarks on the subject. Franks' attempts to roll back women's reproductive rights basically lasted his entire tenure in Congress; on the bright side, they were all either symbolic or pretty much a complete failure.

2. Franks repeatedly attempted to ban abortions past 20 weeks of pregnancy nationwide as well as in Washington, D.C., leading women of the District to protest outside of his office. 

3. He's compared ending abortion to a campaign to end genocide. "Abortion on demand is the greatest genocide known to mankind in the history of this planet," Franks has stated.

4. In 2013, during a House Judiciary Committee hearing, Franks said that "the incidences of rape resulting in pregnancy are very low." He later tried to walk back and deny what he had said.

5. In 2010, Franks said that black people were better off under slavery than under a government that allows abortion. "Far more of the African-American community is being devastated by the policies of today, than were being devastated by the policies of slavery," he said in comments captured on video.

6. Some Republicans might stop at the attempts to ban abortion. Franks didn't. He also targeted the LGBTQ community, saying that gay marriage "literally is a threat to the nation's survival in the long run."

7. Franks also endorsed the idea of impeaching Obama over his decision to no longer defend the Defense of Marriage Act.

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Arizona Congressman Trent Franks stepped down on Friday.
Stephen Lemons
8. Throughout his time in Congress, Franks has also been a strident voice for Islamophobia. He repeatedly talked about the supposed infiltration of Muslims in the government and had no issues with a conspiracy theory that former President Obama was a secret Muslim, amplifying and feeding into the worst of the anti-Muslim fringe.

In 2012, Franks took the conservative obsession with the Muslim Brotherhood to the next level. Along with other extreme right-wing members of Congress, including Michele Bachmann and Louie Gohmert, Franks demanded the inspectors general of five agencies investigate the Muslim Brotherhood's influence within the government.

In a statement during the controversy, Franks lamented political correctness and described the Muslim Brotherhood in feverish terms, warning about the "pre-violent kind of warfare the Muslim Brotherhood practices as ‘civilization jihad’ being conducted against our government and civil society institutions."

“Sun Tzu said that if you cannot identify your enemy, you cannot defeat him," Franks added.

9. The next year, Franks appeared on a panel with voices from the extreme anti-Muslim fringe at the David Horowitz Freedom Center. Co-panelist Robert Spencer, the author of various insane commentaries on Islam, suggested that then-President Obama was Muslim. Franks didn't take issue with it.

Spencer explained, “Whatever his (Obama's) personal beliefs are, certainly if he were a secret Muslim, he wouldn’t be acting any differently from how he is anyway.”

“That’s exactly right,” Franks said in agreement. “He wouldn’t be any different.”

10. Just this summer, Franks proposed surveilling the schools of Islamic thought as well as prominent Muslim leaders to allow the Pentagon to better combat terrorism, pretty much an open-face display of bigotry that opponents decried as a violation of the First Amendment.

Thursday, as rumors of Franks' impending resignation loomed, he and several other very conservative members of the House huddled on the floor of the chamber. They appeared to pray together.

Watching Franks and his colleagues in prayer together on the last full day of his legislative career, it makes you wonder: Did Franks ever spare a prayer or thought for the people who were victimized or intimidated by his alleged personal behavior, not to mention members of the marginalized groups who were the targets of his odious ideology?

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