Former GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney argued this morning that Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore should drop out of the race regardless if accusations of sexual misconduct against the former judge have been adjudicated.
The Washington Post reported Thursday on the allegations of four women, all named on the record, who say that Moore asked them out and kissed them when they were teenagers. One woman who was 14 at the time, which is below the age of consent for any sexual contact in Alabama (second-degree sexual abuse, a misdemeanor), said Moore took her to a rural home, undressed down to his underwear, touched her through her bra and underwear, and moved her hand toward his genitals before she asked that he take her home.
The paper noted that they interviewed more than 30 people who knew Moore and the women involved between 1977 and 1982, and checked to ensure none of the women had made donations to or worked for Doug Jones, Moore’s Democratic opponent, or any of Moore’s GOP primary challengers, including Sen. Luther Strange (R-Ala.). The accuser who was 14 at the time of her alleged encounter with Moore, Leigh Corfman, said she voted for Donald Trump.
“The Obama-Clinton Machine’s liberal media lapdogs just launched the most vicious and nasty round of attacks against me I’ve EVER faced! We are are in the midst of a spiritual battle with those who want to silence our message,” Moore tweeted Thursday night. “The forces of evil will lie, cheat, steal –– even inflict physical harm –– if they believe it will silence and shut up Christian conservatives like you and me.”
“I believe you and I have a duty to stand up and fight back against the forces of evil waging an all-out war on our conservative values! Our nation is at a crossroads right now — both spiritually and politically,” the GOP candidate added.
Many GOP senators including Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), quickly said Moore should withdraw from the race if the allegations are true. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said the accusations along were enough: “The allegations against Roy Moore are deeply disturbing and disqualifying. He should immediately step aside and allow the people of Alabama to elect a candidate they can be proud of.”
Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), one of the few sitting GOP senators to endorse Moore, has now asked the candidate to stop using his image on campaign fundraising ads. Like other senators, Lee said Moore should step aside if the allegations are true.
Romney, though, said there was no need to wait.
“Innocent until proven guilty is for criminal convictions, not elections,” the former Massachusetts governor tweeted. “I believe Leigh Corfman. Her account is too serious to ignore. Moore is unfit for office and should step aside.”
Ohio governor and former GOP presidential hopeful John Kasich added: “I’ve long opposed Roy Moore & his divisive viewpoints. The actions described make him unfit for office. The GOP must not support him. He should step aside.”
Actress Rose McGowan, who has accused producer Harvey Weinstein of sexual assault and has been waging an online crusade against sexual abusers in Hollywood, tweeted, “If Roy Moore had molested little boys, the far right would have kicked him out ASAP. But because it’s just girls they won’t believe. More of a problem with a gay predator than a straight predator.”
Moore’s brother, Jerry Moore, told CNN that the allegations were untrue and politically motivated, and said his brother was being persecuted like Jesus Christ.