GOP Senators Are Turning on Moore Following Allegations

US Senate candidate from Alabama accused of sexual contact with 14-year-old girl
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 9, 2017 4:09 PM CST
GOP Senators: Moore Should Drop Out if Allegations Are True
According to a "Washington Post" story Nov. 9, an Alabama woman said Roy Moore made inappropriate advances and had sexual contact with her when she was 14.   (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson, File)

Roy Moore was accused of initiating a sexual encounter with a 14-year-old girl when he was 32 in a Washington Post report published Thursday. Three other women say he asked them out on dates while they were between 16 and 18 years old and he was in his 30s. Now Republican senators are calling for the Senate hopeful from Alabama to drop out of the race—with one big caveat. "If these allegations are true, he must step aside," the Hill quotes Sen. Mitch McConnell as saying in a statement. “If these allegations are found to be true, Roy Moore must drop out of the Alabama special Senate election," Sen. Cory Gardner added. Here's everything else you need to know about the response to the allegations against Moore:

  • Sen. Susan Collins was also quick to add the "if true" clause to her statement on Twitter: "If there is any truth at all to these horrific allegations, Roy Moore should immediately step aside as a Senate candidate."
  • The Atlantic reports Sen. Ben Sasse ("If there’s an ounce of truth to any of this, Roy Moore has no place in public life") and Sen. Marco Rubio (“deeply disturbing and, if true, disqualifying") took a similar tack.
  • Sen. John Cornyn wouldn't even go so far as to say Moore should drop out of the race. "It's up to the governor and the folks of Alabama to make that decision," CNN quotes the majority whip as saying.

  • Not all Republicans were as cagey. "The allegations against Roy Moore are deeply disturbing and disqualifying," Sen. John McCain tweeted. "He should immediately step aside and allow the people of Alabama to elect a candidate they can be proud of."
  • "I think if what we read is true, and people are on the record so I assume it is, then he should step aside," Vox quotes Sen. Rob Portman as saying. "I think it’d be best for him, best for the state.”
  • But Heavy reports it's not clear Moore could drop out of the race even if he wanted to. Alabama requires 76-days notice for candidates to remove themselves from the ballot for a statewide general election—a deadline that has already passed for the December special election.
  • Meanwhile, Alabama State Auditor Jim Ziegler came to the defense of Moore, calling the accusations "much ado about nothing" because the alleged incidents happened a long time ago and didn't include intercourse, and also because of the Bible. "Take Joseph and Mary," Ziegler tells the Washington Examiner. "Mary was a teenager and Joseph was an adult carpenter. They became parents of Jesus.”

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  • Breitbart got out ahead of the Washington Post story, posting a defense of Moore that notes the paper's endorsement of his Democratic opponent, Doug Jones, and implying the whole thing is politically motivated.
  • In follow-up analysis, the Washington Post reports the accusations could give the Democrats an unexpected win in Alabama, which would narrow the Republican majority in the Senate to 51-49 and make a path to a Democratic majority—likely by adding seats in Alaska and Nevada in 2018—more obvious.
  • Finally, the Washington Post, arguing with itself, states Moore is unlikely to lose any support from his evangelical base over the allegations, and the evidence is currently occupying the White House. Despite being caught on video bragging about sexual assault, President Trump got more support from evangelical voters than any Republican presidential candidate in recent years.
(More Roy Moore stories.)

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