President Donald Trump seemed to pivot toward Alabama Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore in comments Tuesday. Speaking to reporters on the White House lawn, Trump insisted that Moore denies the sexual assault allegations and that Moore’s Democrat opponent, Doug Jones, would be a bad influence in the Senate.
“I can tell you one thing for sure. We don’t need a liberal person in there, a Democrat,” Trump said in brief comments to reporters. “Jones, I’ve looked at his record. It’s terrible on crime. It’s terrible on the border. It’s terrible on the military.”
Trump insisted, “I can tell you for a fact, we don’t need somebody that is going to be bad on crime, bad on borders, bad with the military, bad for the Second Amendment.”
The president further noted that Moore “totally denies” the allegations against him.
Trump had not previously addressed the Moore allegations. White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders previously said, “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. However, the president also believes that if these allegations are true, Judge Moore will do the right thing and step aside.”
“We are uncomfortable with the explanations that Roy Moore has given to date,” White House legislative director Marc Short told ABC News. “Obviously if he did not believe that the women’s accusations were credible, he would be down campaigning for Roy Moore.”
Trump’s statements may represent a turn toward supporting Moore, but he is still not planning to go campaign in Alabama.
Earlier this month, The Washington Post launched sexual assault allegations against Moore in a report with four separate women. Moore immediately denied the “completely false” allegations. Even so, many abandoned him over the allegations, Jones has opened a hefty polling lead over Moore, and Baptist leader Russell Moore accused evangelicals who still support him of idolatry.
Last week, the Alabama Republican Party released a statement supporting Moore despite the allegations.
The Alabama Republican Party Steering Committee “supports Judge Roy Moore as our nominee and trusts the voters as they make the ultimate decision in this crucial race,” GOP Chairman Terry Lathan said. “Judge Moore has vehemently denied the allegations against him. He deserves to be presumed innocent of the accusations unless proven otherwise. He will continue to take his case straight to the people of Alabama.”
Lathan added, “There is a sharp policy contrast between Judge Moore, a conservative Republican who supports President Trump, and the liberal Democrat who will fight and thwart the agenda of our president. We trust the Alabama voters in this election to have our beloved state and nation’s best interest at heart.”
Alabamans will vote on December 12.