Against the wishes of many members of his own party, President Trump has decided to throw his political weight behind Alabama Senate Republican candidate Roy Moore’s controversial special election campaign.
Last month, The Washington Post released an article alleging that Moore had engaged in sexual contact with girls as young as 14 when he was in his 30s — leading members of both parties to demand him to step out of the race. The conservative candidate vehemently denied the accusations, calling them “completely false.” Moore told Fox News that he has “never engaged in sexual misconduct.”
Roy Moore is currently in the race to fill his state’s vacant seat left behind by Attorney General Jeff Sessions. The winner of the election, which will take place on December 12th, will fill the seat until January 2021. Moore is running against Doug Jones, a former United States Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama.
The first woman that came forward, Leigh Corfman, says that she was just 14-years-old when Moore sexually molested her. At the time that the alleged sexual contact took place, Moore was a 32-year-old assistant district attorney.
Although Moore, now 70 years old, denies the allegations, five women have come forward and accused the former Alabama state judge of inappropriate sexual conduct since The Washington Post released the initial report. The five women were all between the ages of 14 and 19 when the alleged assaults happened. Moore was in his 30s at the time.
Moore has accused the Washington Post of spreading “fake news” by publishing the allegations, suggesting they are a desperate political attack by the Democratic Party. This is not the first time that Moore has found himself in hot water. Before these allegations surfaced, Moore was removed from Alabama’s Supreme Court twice — but has managed to spin the controversy in his favor.
Many leading Republicans, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, have called for Moore to quit the Senate race. Senator John Thune of South Dakota says that Roy Moore should step aside and let someone else take his place. Moore hasn’t yet stepped down in spite of calls for him to do so. Despite this, he maintains a small edge over his opponent, Democrat Doug Jones, according to the latest polling data. If Moore should win the election, several Republican lawmakers have said that they would consider expelling him from Senate. However, with Trump’s endorsement, this seems far less likely.
White House officials initially said that the President will not hit the campaign trail for Roy Moore. When first asked about Trump campaigning for Moore, Lindsay Walters, a White House spokeswoman told The Hill that there
President Trump refused to follow other members of his party and ask Moore to step aside. When initially asked about the conservative candidate, the president offered no comment. He was in the middle of a 12-day Asia trip at the time. Since then, Trump has said that the public should listen to Moore too. Trump pointed out that Moore has denied the claims. Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee-Sanders had also said that the president’s agenda was too full to campaign for Moore.
In spite of the White House’s initial comments to the contrary, President Trump has endorsed Roy Moore for the Alabama Republican Senate nomination. The White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah confirmed that the president personally backed Roy Moore during a phone call. Later, Moore tweeted that he had the president’s support. Moore reported that Trump said — “Go get ’em, Roy!”
Trump has since told voters that “we need” Moore to tackle tax reform, illegal immigration and other issues the slimly GOP-held Senate has yet to be able to progress on. The president also said that voters don’t want a liberal Democrat in Alabama that is controlled by Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi.
Trump plans to campaign in Pensacola, Florida just days before the December 12th, special election. This shows his support for Moore, as the town is only 25 miles from the Alabama border. The president’s “Make America Great Again” rally, which will take place on Friday, December 8th at the Pensacola Bay Center is the 4th appearance that the president has held in Pensacola since 2015.
~ Liberty Planet