Paul Ryan 'Not Changed' on Roy Moore, Says GOP Candidate Should Drop Out
WASHINGTON -- House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) told reporters on Capitol Hill today that his "position hasn't changed" on Roy Moore even as President Trump and the Republican National Committee have thrown their support behind the Alabama Senate candidate.
Nine women have accused Moore of inappropriate sexual conduct or of trying to pursue a relationship when they were teenagers and he was in his 30s. One woman who was 14 years old at the time says Moore took her to his home, undressed her, touched her sexually and tried to get her to touch him. Moore has denied the accusations.
Ryan replied "no" today when asked if he thinks the allegations against Moore should be left up to the voters.
"I have not changed. I think he should have dropped out, I think he should," Ryan said. "I -- just because the polling has changed doesn't change my opinion on the matter. So I stand by what I said before."
A new Gravis poll shows Democrat Doug Jones four points ahead of Moore, while a new WBRC-TV poll places Moore seven points ahead of his Dem challenger. Former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick and Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) are campaigning for Jones in an effort to help turn out the African-American vote in Tuesday's special election.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters today, "We think that the allegations are troubling and that ultimately this is something that the people of Alabama should decide." She didn't answer a question about why the White House has not called for a write-in candidate.
"We don't want to have a liberal Democrat in Alabama, believe me," Trump said Tuesday at a lunch with GOP senators when asked why he decided to endorse Moore. "We want strong borders, we want stopping crime. We want to have the things that we represent, and we certainly don't want a liberal Democrat that's controlled by Nancy Pelosi and controlled by Chuck Schumer. We don't want to have that for Alabama."
On Sunday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who originally said that he believes Moore's accusers, said that "people in Alabama are going to decide a week from Tuesday who they want to send to the Senate -- it's really up to them."
"It's been a pretty robust campaign, with a lot of people weighing in. The president and I, of course, supported somebody different earlier in the process," he said. "But in the end, the voters of Alabama will make their choice."
At a media availability Tuesday, McConnell said he "had hoped" Moore would "withdraw from the race -- that obviously is not going to happen."
"If he were to be elected, I think he would immediately have an issue with the Ethics Committee which they would take up," he added.