McConnell abruptly reverses call for Roy Moore to step aside from election

He parroted Trump's call to "let the people of Alabama decide."

CREDIT: AP Photo/Molly Riley
CREDIT: AP Photo/Molly Riley

Backing away from his previous concerns about sexual misconduct allegations against Alabama senate candidate Roy Moore, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) reversed course in a Sunday interview saying Moore should stay in the race so that voters can decide his fate.

“We’re going to let the people of Alabama decide a week from Tuesday who they want to send to the Senate,” McConnell told George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s This Week. McConnell’s stance echoed the wishy-washy language expressed by President Donald Trump, who has refused to condemn Moore for the multiple allegations of sexual abuse leveled against him.

McConnell notably refused to respond to Stephanopoulos’ question as to whether he thought Moore should be in the Senate, again deferring to the voters. He likewise refused to say whether he would make any recommendations to the Senate Ethics Committee should Moore be elected. “Ultimately it will be up to them to make that decision,” he said.

Stephanopoulos pointed out that McConnell has said he believed the women who accused Moore and asked whether he believes the many women who have made accusations against President Trump. McConnell indicated he only cares about his jurisdiction over the Senate.

On CBS’ Face the Nation, McConnell reiterated the same perspective, saying, “We’ll swear in whoever’s elected and see where we are at that particular point.”

This is an abrupt shift from McConnell’s comments last month, when he said that he believes Moore’s accusers and added that Moore should “should step aside” from the race.

Indeed, McConnell used the exact same line that Trump used for weeks after the allegations came forth before eventually reiterating support for Moore. By deferring to voters in the state, the White House sought to avoid accountability for the outcome of the election without outright condemning Moore.

The White House has likewise claimed that Trump won’t be going to Alabama to campaign for Moore, and yet this week,Trump is scheduled to hold a campaign-style rally in Pensacola, Florida. Not only is Pensacola just 20 miles from the Alabama border, it also resides in the same media market as Mobile, Alabama. This makes it accessible to Alabama voters, who can attend in-person or watch on their local news that night — just four days before the special election.