President Trump fully endorsed Republican Senate candidate and alleged child molester Roy Moore early Monday morning.
“Democrats refusal to give even one vote for massive Tax Cuts is why we need Republican Roy Moore to win in Alabama,” Trump tweeted. “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!”
Trump has consistently hit Moore’s rival, Democratic candidate Doug Jones, and said it is up to the people of Alabama to decide which candidate to support. But his tweet Monday morning was his first full-throated endorsement of the alleged serial sexual predator.
Last month, The Washington Post published a bombshell report in which four women accused Moore of sexual abuse. One woman, Leigh Corfman, was just 14 years old when the alleged incident occurred; Moore was 32. In the weeks since the Post published their report, five more women have come forward to accuse Moore of sexual abuse.
Many people in Alabama say Moore’s history has been a known secret for years. Moore was banned from a local mall, and one woman who says Moore asked her out when she was 17 says Moore told her he went out with girls her age “all the time.”
In the wake of these reports, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said he believed the women and called for Moore to step aside. House Speaker Paul Ryan also said he found the allegations credible.
But on Sunday, McConnell abruptly reversed his stance, saying on ABC’s This Week, “We’re going to let the people of Alabama decide a week from Tuesday who they want to send to the Senate.”
On CNN Monday morning, White House legislative affairs director Marc Short defended Trump’s endorsement of Moore, saying that Trump has “been clear about expressing his concerns about the accusations against Roy Moore.”
But, Short said, “He is also making the point that in one of our best opportunities for significant tax relief… we couldn’t muster support from Democrats.” (Notably, Trump has not been clear about expressing concerns about the accusations against Moore, only consistently reiterating that Moore has denied all accusations against him.)
Moore was a controversial candidate even before accusations about his predatory history became public. Moore has said he believes homosexuality should be criminalized and that Muslims shouldn’t be allowed to hold elected office. Additionally, last week, ThinkProgress reported that Moore co-authored a legal course in 2011 that taught that women shouldn’t be allowed to serve in public office and Christians have a moral obligation not to vote for women if they run.
Polling in the Senate election shows a close race. Most pollsters have Moore up by single digits.
The outcome of the race could have major implications for Republican priorities in the Senate. In the early hours of the morning last Saturday, the Senate passed the GOP’s tax plan 51 votes to 49. The plan, which now needs to be reconciled with the House version before going to the president’s desk, will cost $1.4 trillion and does not deliver on any promise to cut taxes for middle class families. The plan overwhelmingly favors large corporations and wealthy taxpayers, as well as allowing for drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska and straining spending on public schools.