On Friday, the White House addressed the explosive sexual misconduct allegations against Alabama Republican senatorial candidate Judge Roy Moore.
The Washington Post reported on Thursday that multiple women accused Moore of having propositioned them sexually when they were teenagers in the late 1970s, while Moore was in his 30s. One woman claims Moore sexually assaulted her in 1978 when she was 14 years old. Moore has denied the allegations, saying, "These allegations are completely false and are a desperate political attack by the National Democrat Party and The Washington Post on this campaign."
Several Republican lawmakers spoke out Thursday, calling for Moore to pull out of the race. On Friday, the White House weighed in, Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders telling reporters that while the accusations thus far are "mere allegation," if they prove to be true, Trump believes Moore "will do the right thing and step aside."
"Like most Americans, the president believes we cannot allow a mere allegation, in this case one from many years ago, to destroy a person’s life," Sanders told reporters. "However, the president also believes that if these allegations are true, Judge Moore will do the right thing and step aside."
On Thursday, the Post reported the allegations of multiple women alleging misconduct by Moore when they were minors or teens:
Alone with Corfman, Moore chatted with her and asked for her phone number, she says. Days later, she says, he picked her up around the corner from her house in Gadsden, drove her about 30 minutes to his home in the woods, told her how pretty she was and kissed her. On a second visit, she says, he took off her shirt and pants and removed his clothes. He touched her over her bra and underpants, she says, and guided her hand to touch him over his underwear. ...
Wendy Miller says she was 14 and working as a Santa’s helper at the Gadsden Mall when Moore first approached her, and 16 when he asked her on dates, which her mother forbade. Debbie Wesson Gibson says she was 17 when Moore spoke to her high school civics class and asked her out on the first of several dates that did not progress beyond kissing. Gloria Thacker Deason says she was an 18-year-old cheerleader when Moore began taking her on dates that included bottles of Mateus Rosé wine. The legal drinking age in Alabama was 19.
Moore has vehemently denied the allegations, describing them in a series of tweets on Thursday as a product of the "Obama-Clinton Machine" and an attempt to "silence and shut up Christian conservatives like you and me."
"The Obama-Clinton Machine’s liberal media lapdogs just launched the most vicious and nasty round of attacks against me I’ve EVER faced!" he wrote. "We are are in the midst of a spiritual battle with those who want to silence our message. The forces of evil will lie, cheat, steal –– even inflict physical harm –– if they believe it will silence and shut up Christian conservatives like you and me."
Moore's campaign also issued a press release on Thursday highlighting what the campaign describes as evidence that the Post is deliberately trying to take him down:
The Washington Post has already endorsed the Judge’s opponent, and for months, they have engaged in a systematic campaign to distort the truth about the Judge’s record and career and derail his campaign. In fact, just two days ago, the Foundation for Moral Law sent a retraction demand to the Post for the false stories they wrote about the Judge’s work and compensation. But apparently, there is no end to what the Post will allege.
The Judge has been married to Kayla for nearly 33 years, has 4 children, and 5 grandchildren. He has been a candidate in four hotly-contested statewide political contests, twice as a gubernatorial candidate and twice as a candidate for chief justice. He has been a three-time candidate for local office, and he has been a national figure in two ground-breaking, judicial fights over religious liberty and traditional marriage. After over 40 years of public service, if any of these allegations were true, they would have been made public long before now.