On Wednesday, Ronna McDaniel, chairwoman of the Republican National Committee, threw her support behind Roy Moore, the Republican candidate in the upcoming special election to fill the U.S. Senate seat formerly held by Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
The Republican National Committee is embracing Moore, despite his history of extremism and bigotry. Moore has characterized 9/11 as punishment for America turning away from God, argued homosexuality should be illegal, pushed the racist conspiracy theory that President Obama is a Muslim, and said Muslims shouldn’t serve in the U.S. Congress. He hasn’t tried to keep his views secret — on Wednesday, Moore made headlines for telling Time Magazine he thinks NFL players who kneel during the national anthem are breaking the law.
Moore’s extremism has translated into action. Earlier this year, Moore resigned from the Alabama Supreme Court after he was suspended for continuing to enforce the state’s unconstitutional ban on same-sex marriage. That marked the second time Moore left the Alabama Supreme Court in disgrace — in 2003, he was removed from the court after he refused a federal court’s order to remove a monument of the Ten Commandments from the Alabama Judicial Building.
But none of that has stopped prominent Republicans from openly embracing him. On Tuesday, Moore was endorsed by Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), who in a statement unironically lauded his “lifetime defending and standing up for the Constitution.”
Paul’s endorsement came a day after President Trump — who endorsed Moore’s Republican primary opponent, but then quickly threw his support behind Moore after he won — struggled to answer a reporter’s question about how he can justify supporting a candidate who thinks homosexuality should be illegal and Muslims shouldn’t serve in Congress.
“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 replied, lamely. “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.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Vice President Mike Pence have also endorsed Moore.
A shock Fox News poll released Tuesday found Moore tied with Democratic nominee Doug Jones at 42 percent each in the deeply red state. But that poll didn’t screen for likely voters, and other polls have found Moore up by six to eight points. The election is scheduled for December 12.