- Pablo Martinez Monsivais/Getty Images
- Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Roy Moore “should step aside” from his bid for a US Senate seat after allegations that said he had relationships with several teenage girls when he was in his 30s.
- Last week, McConnell – who did not support Moore in the GOP primary – said the Alabama Republican should abandon his bid “if” the allegations were true.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Monday said that Roy Moore, the Republican nominee for Senate in Alabama, should step aside from the race amid allegations that he initiated romantic and sexual relationships with teenage girls when he was in his 30s.
Last week, McConnell said that Moore – whom he did not support against Sen. Luther Strange in the GOP primary in September – “should step aside” from his Senate bid if the allegations were true. But on Monday, McConnell dropped the qualifier, calling on Moore to leave the race and saying he believes the women’s allegations.
“I believe the women, yes” McConnell said during a Monday press conference.
McConnell told reporters that he and Republican leadership were exploring whether a write-in candidate could be successful in the run-off special election in December.
Moore’s campaign has been in turmoil since The Washington Post published a report on Thursday detailing allegations of sexual misconduct against him. One woman claimed that Moore initiated a sexual encounter with her when she was 14 and he was 32.
Several other women told The Post that Moore had pursued romantic relationships with them while he was in his 30s and they were between the ages of 16 and 19. The age of consent in Alabama is 16.
The National Republican Senatorial Committee severed ties with Moore on Friday, extricating itself from a joint fundraising agreement with the candidate after a slew of Republican lawmakers disavowed him.
Moore, a former Alabama State Supreme Court justice who was removed from the bench on two separate occassions, said he spoke with McConnell after defeating Strange in the primary last month.
Moore routinely cited McConnell as a primary foe and obstacle to a more conservative agenda while on the campaign trail to defeat Strange in the Republican primary in September.
Last Thursday, Moore told Newsmax’s John Gizzi that he would not back McConnell as the majority leader if he has a vote in the Senate.
“He has repeatedly let down the president’s agenda and the proof is in the inaction we see on ending Obamacare, toughening immigration laws, and getting tax reform on the road to passage,” Moore said.
And while McConnell endorsed Moore after his victory over Strange – who was backed by both the majority leader and President Donald Trump – the McConnell-linked Senate Leadership Fund said it would not spend any more money in the Alabama special election.
“This is Alabama, not New York or California,” SLF spokesman Chris Pack told AL.com. “Democrats would first need to demonstrate this is an actual race before anything is considered.”
Moore is one of the most controversial Senate candidates in recent history. He has said that homosexual acts should be illegal, argued that some communities in the US are living under Sharia law, and shared videos claiming former President Barack Obama is secretly Muslim.
Joe Perticone contributed reporting.