During a news conference at the White House on Monday, President Trump was asked how he can justify his endorsement of U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore (R-AL) — an extremist who has said 9/11 was punishment for America turning away from God, argued that homosexuality should be illegal, and pushed the racist conspiracy theory that President Obama is a Muslim.
Despite Moore’s hateful positions, Trump quickly endorsed him after he prevailed in a primary election last month.
On Monday, a reporter asked Trump how he can justify his support for Moore, given his extremist positions on Islam and homosexuality.
“Roy Moore down in Alabama has said that homosexuality should be illegal and that Muslims should be barred from serving in the U.S. Congress,” the reporter began. “What makes you comfortable with those beliefs serving in the U.S. Senate?”
Trump completely ignored the question, and instead merely pointed out he’ll be meeting with Moore soon.
“Well I’m going to be meeting with Roy sometime next week, and we’re going to talk to him about a lot of different things,” Trump said. “He ran a very strong race, the people of Alabama who I like very much and they like me very much, but they like Roy, and we’ll be talking to him and I can report to you then.”
Given the fact Trump endorsed Moore despite his long history of espousing bigoted views, it’s unclear what he could possibly say during their upcoming meeting to cause the president to break with him now. Trump’s tweets in support of Moore suggest he’s more interested in having another Republican in the Senate than he is in the content of Moore’s positions.
Trump actually endorsed Moore’s primary opponent, Luther Strange, in the primary. But after Moore prevailed, Trump quickly deleted tweets in which he endorsed Strange, including one in which he falsely claimed his endorsement was causing Strange to surge in the polls. Trump’s decision to delete the tweets was unusual — he never deleted his tweets falsely claiming President Obama’s birth certificate was a fraud.
Trump promised during his campaign that he would be a better “friend of women and the LGBT community” than Hillary Clinton. His refusal to disavow Moore is just the latest evidence of how empty his words were.