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- President Donald Trump on Tuesday implicitly endorsed Roy Moore, the Republican Senate nominee in Alabama who has been accused of sexual misconduct by multiple women.
- “We don’t need” Moore’s Democratic challenger, Doug Jones, to win the Senate seat, Trump said.
- Of the allegations against Moore, Trump said, “He totally denies it.”
President Donald Trump on Tuesday implicitly endorsed Roy Moore, the Republican Senate nominee in Alabama, telling reporters as he left the White House for a Thanksgiving trip to Palm Beach, Florida, “We don’t need a liberal person … a Democrat,” in that seat.
In the past two weeks, Moore has been accused of sexual misconduct by several women, including one who told The Washington Post that he initiated a sexual encounter with her in 1979, when she was 14 and he was in 32.
“He totally denies it,” Trump said on Tuesday of the sexual-misconduct allegations against Moore.
Though Moore has vehemently denied the allegations, he has done little to clear up what has emerged as a pattern of women saying Moore pursued relationships with them as teenagers.
The president also said the recent wave in the US of women coming forward to share their stories of being sexually harassed or assaulted by powerful men was a good thing for society.
Trump, who has characterized allegations of sexual misconduct brought against him by more than a dozen women during last year’s presidential campaign as lies, had not previously addressed those against Moore.
But amid the president’s trip to Asia earlier this month, the White House press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, said Trump believed that “if” the allegations against Moore “are true,” Moore would “do the right thing and step aside.”
On Monday, the White House counselor Kellyanne Conway told “Fox & Friends” that Moore’s Democratic challenger, Doug Jones, would “be a vote against tax cuts” and was “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 before 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 from the White House.
Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter and White House adviser, told The Associated Press last week that there was “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.
Many Republican elected officials in Washington, DC, have disavowed Moore, and the National Republican Senatorial Committee and the Republican National Committee earlier this month withdrew their support for his candidacy.