“As veterans, Joni and I both know that Trump’s actions would merit a court martial,” Franken says in the ad. “And Joni’s indifference is a dereliction of duty.”
Franken said he felt strongly about calling out Trump’s actions in Ukraine and Ernst’s silence on the issue early in the race.
“We were the first candidate in the nation to say that an impeachment inquiry — inquiry is the key — has to occur,” Franken said. “In the executive branch, you need to maintain a very substantial bar that necessitates investigation. If malfeasance occurred, however slight, you need to investigate it because the things we deal with in life have to do with life and death.”
When Franken talks about the charges leveled against Trump, the discussion is more technical than political.
He notes the long-term implications of Trump’s foreign policy and how career diplomats and government workers are affected when the commander in chief goes rogue.
“It is an accumulation of a series of events in this presidency which slowly change the culture of what was prudent and what was proper,” Franken said. “My fear was that there was a slow and steady — it wasn’t really slow — denigration of standards in this country.”
In his first TV ad, he wanted to bring these concerns to light.
“When you destroy relationships internationally, now you’re creating something which creates years and decades to recover, such as his trade policies, which I’m not sure we’ll recover with China anytime soon, certainly not during his administration. This will be left for a succeeding administration,” Franken said.
“I have a very international slight to me, that when he showed his colors with Ukraine and when people can ultimately die as a result of his decision-making, it necessitated calling it out. And hopefully an impeachment inquiry will, I think, upend his more unhelpful tendencies.”