Trump Tells Moore `Go Get 'Em' in Race Despite Sex Allegations
(Bloomberg) -- President Donald Trump gave Alabama Republican Roy Moore his full endorsement in a U.S. Senate special election, overlooking allegations by multiple women that the former state Supreme Court justice has engaged in sexual misconduct.
Trump called Moore on Monday to throw him his support, White House spokesman Raj Shah said in an email, and also promoted the Alabama Republican on Twitter.
“Democrats’ refusal to give even one vote for massive Tax Cuts is why we need Republican Roy Moore to win in Alabama,” Trump tweeted on Monday. “We need his vote on stopping crime, illegal immigration, Border Wall, Military, Pro Life, V.A., Judges 2nd Amendment and more. No to Jones, a Pelosi/Schumer Puppet!”
The president was referring to Moore’s challenger, Democrat Doug Jones, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.
Moore said on Twitter that Trump had offered his full support and said he needs a fighter to help him in the Senate. He quoted the president as saying, “Go get ’em, Roy!”
Moore, who faces allegations that he pursued sexual relationships with teenage girls while he was in his 30s, has recently rebounded in his campaign against Jones. Moore now has a 2.6 percentage point lead, according to a Real Clear Politics average of recent polls that was updated Monday. The election is Dec. 12.
“President Trump knows that the future of his conservative agenda in Congress hinges on this election,” Moore said in a statement. “I look forward to fighting alongside the President to strengthen our military, secure our border, protect our gun rights, defend the sanctity of life, and confirm conservative judges to courts around this nation.”
Trump will hold a rally on Friday in Pensacola, Florida, his campaign committee said last week -- just miles from Alabama and four days before the Alabama election.
While Trump has previously indicated his preference for a Republican to win the seat, this is his most explicit endorsement by name of Moore. Trump has voiced doubts about the accusations of the women who accused Moore, saying the allegations are decades old.
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Trump’s endorsement puts him at odds with Republican leadership and many Republicans in the Senate, who have called for Moore to drop out of the race. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell appeared to soften his stance on Sunday, though, saying during an appearance on ABC News’s “This Week” that he was “going to let the people of Alabama make the call.”
Republicans in Washington and national party groups began withdrawing support from Moore after the Washington Post reported allegations from four women who said Moore pursued relationships with them when they were teenagers.
One of the women, Leigh Corfman, accused Moore of initiating sexual contact with her in 1979 when she was 14. Several other women have since come forward to accuse Moore of sexual misconduct since the Washington Post report last month.
One woman, Beverly Young Nelson, has accused Moore of sexually assaulting her when she was 16 years old.
Moore has denied the allegations, and his campaign has sought to undermine the accusers. In Alabama, 71 percent of Republicans say the allegations are false, while only 17 percent believe they are true, according to a CBS News poll released Sunday.
While top officials from Trump’s White House initially said that Moore should step aside if the allegations are true, the president and his advisers have more recently focused on the importance of maintaining the slim Republican majority in the Senate. The tax overhaul passed through the Senate last week with just 51 votes, all Republican.
Marc Short, White House legislative affairs director, said Monday that Trump has voiced his concerns about Moore, but is also focused on cutting taxes.
“He’s been clear about expressing his concerns about the accusations against Roy Moore but he’s also making the point that one of our best opportunities for significant tax relief” is imminent, he said Monday on CNN’s “New Day” program. “We couldn’t muster any support from Democrats on a plan that provides massive tax relief for middle-income families.”
Trump also made the case for voting for Moore in order to help Republican’s tax-cutting agenda.
“Putting Pelosi/Schumer Liberal Puppet Jones into office in Alabama would hurt our great Republican Agenda of low on taxes, tough on crime, strong on military and borders...& so much more,” Trump said on Twitter. “Look at your 401-k’s since Election. Highest Stock Market EVER! Jobs are roaring back!”
©2017 Bloomberg L.P.