President Donald Trump implicitly endorsed embattled GOP Senate candidate Roy Moore on Tuesday, telling reporters that “we don’t need a liberal Democrat in that seat” as he left the White House for a Thanksgiving trip to Palm Beach, Florida.
“Roy Moore denies it — that’s all I can say,” he said, breaking a silence on the sexual misconduct allegations levied against Moore by nearly 10 women. The allegations include incidents with women under the age of 16 when he was in his 30s.
Moore has vehemently denied the allegations. But he has done little over the past few weeks to clear up what has emerged as a pattern from the women.
“And by the way, he totally denies it,” Trump said. The president also said the recent spike in women coming forward to share their stories of being sexually harassed or assaulted by powerful men is a good thing for US society.
Trump, who faced allegations of sexual misconduct from more than a dozen women during last year’s presidential campaign — claims he said were all lies — had not previously addressed the Moore allegations. But amid his trip to Asia, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said that Trump believed “if the allegations are true,” Moore “will do the right thing and step aside.”
Trump’s comments come a day after White House counselor Kellyanne Conway told “Fox & Friends” that Democratic nominee Doug Jones, the candidate running against Moore in Alabama, “will be a vote against tax cuts” and is “weak on crime.” Though she didn’t explicitly tell viewers to vote for Moore, she said, “I’m telling you that we want the votes in the Senate to get this tax bill through.”
CNN’s Kaitlan Collins reported Tuesday that Conway spoke with Trump about the Alabama Senate race prior to appearing on the Fox News morning show.
In a Tuesday press conference, Dean Young, a strategist for Moore’s campaign, said Conway’s comments amounted to an endorsement of their candidate from the White House.
Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter and an assistant to him in the White House, told The Associated Press that there is “a special place in hell for people who prey on children.”
“I’ve yet to see a valid explanation and I have no reason to doubt the victims’ accounts,” she said.
Moore has been disavowed by most of the Republican elected officials in Washington, DC. The National Republican Senatorial Committee and the Republican National Committee had already withdrawn their support for his candidacy.
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