“Like most Americans, the president believes we cannot allow a mere allegation, in this case one from many years ago, to destroy a person’s life.”-Sarah Huckabee Sanders
From BUSINESS INSIDER:
- Republicans are split over what should happen to GOP Senate candidate Roy Moore after Thursday’s revelations about sexual misconduct allegations.
- Some want him to quit immediately, others are saying he should step aside “if” the accusation that Moore sexually abused a teenager almost 40 years ago is true, and a third camp is defending Moore.
Three camps are emerging in the Republican Party regarding what it believes should happen to Alabama’s Republican Senate nominee Roy Moore after The Washington Post reportedThursday that he initiated a sexual encounter with a 14-year-old girl when he was 32.
Moore has vehemently denied the allegations made against him in The Post. Multiple women told the publication that Moore pursued relationships with them while he was in his 30s and they were teens, and one woman described a sexual encounter she had with Moore when she was 14. He has shown no signs that he will drop out of the Senate race with just a month left before the election.
Almost immediately after The Post published its investigation, Republican senators were asked about whether they still supported Moore or thought he should stay in the race.
And nearly every Republican senator said he should leave the race “if” the allegations were true.
The problem with that stance is that the “if true” qualifier left the door open to speculation over how much additional proof would be possible to obtain for instances that occurred decades back.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and other top Republicans qualified their statements by saying he should drop out if the allegations were true.
“It’s devastating,” Republican Sen. David Perdue of Georgia, a top congressional ally of President Donald Trump, told a reporter Thursday. “I think if those allegations are true, he should step aside. I mean, I’m sorry but this is untenable — if they’re true. I have no facts, I just saw the story. But it’s very serious.”
“These are serious and troubling allegations,” Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, who endorsed Moore, said in a statement. “If they are true, Judge Moore should immediately withdraw. However, we need to know the truth, and Judge Moore has the right to respond to these accusations”
President Donald Trump decided to join with the Republican senators in the “if true” camp.
It should be noted that both Trump and Sanders have accused the dozen women who claimed last year that the president sexually harassed them of lying.
A number of prominent Alabama Republicans and members of the insurgent right have taken to bashing The Post or the accusers, or suggesting that the revelations were made with a political motive.
Some also suggested that the allegations are not a big deal even if true.
Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon pointed to The Washington Post as having been the outlet to publish both the Moore allegations and Trump’s “Access Hollywood” tape last fall, suggesting there is a political motive at play.
Daniel Dale, a reporter with the Toronto Star, contacted dozens of Republican state officials in Alabama after the Moore story went live. Those who returned his inquiries defended Moore from the accusations.
“It was 40 years ago,” Alabama’s Marion County Republican Party chair, David Hall, told Dale. “I really don’t see the relevance of it. He was 32. She was supposedly 14. She’s not saying that anything happened other than they kissed.”
“It does not really surprise me,” John Skipper, the chair of Alabama’s Mobile County Republican Party, reportedly said. “I think it is a typical Democratic — Democrat — ploy to discredit Judge Moore, a sincere, honest, trustworthy individual.”
Alabama State Auditor Jim Zeigler said the report was “much ado about nothing,” even if true.
Zeigler even compared Moore’s alleged actions to biblical figures.
“Take the Bible. Zachariah and Elizabeth for instance. Zachariah was extremely old to marry Elizabeth and they became the parents of John the Baptist,” Zeigler told The Examiner. “Also take Joseph and Mary. Mary was a teenager and Joseph was an adult carpenter. They became parents of Jesus.”
“There’s just nothing immoral or illegal here,” Zeigler said. “Maybe just a little bit unusual.”
A handful of Republican politicians aren’t worrying about qualifying their statements with “if true.” They are simply calling for Moore to drop out immediately.
“Innocent until proven guilty is for criminal convictions, not elections. I believe Leigh Corfman,” 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney tweeted. “Her account is too serious to ignore. Moore is unfit for office and should step aside.”
Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona, the 2008 GOP presidential nominee, was the first major Republican politician to call for Moore to quit the race immediately.
Ohio Gov. John Kasich, often a critic of Trump, joined the camp as well.