On Sunday, White House legislative affairs director Marc Short appeared as a guest on ABC’s “This Week."
When host George Stephanopoulos asked Short if President Trump believes the women accusing Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore of sexual harassment and assault, the legislative affairs director responded:
I think the president's been clear on this. When the allegations broke, he was halfway around the globe, 6,000 miles away, and quickly issued a statement that said that if these allegations are true, it would be disqualifying. I think it's important to remind your audience that the president went down and campaigned against Roy Moore in the primary in support of Luther Strange. So, we are uncomfortable with the explanations that Roy Moore has given to date. So, at this point, we think that it's best for the people of Alabama — all the information's in front of them — for them to make the decision.
From here, Stephanopoulos attempted to get a direct answer from Short on whether or not the president supports Moore:
STEPHANOPOULOS: But I'm asking the position of the president because the president also said that he would back Roy Moore if he won the primary, if he won the runoff against Strange – and Roy Moore did indeed win that. And it's now been two weeks since the allegations first broke; there are now seven women who have come forward. Here's what the leaders you work with in Congress are saying about that right now. ... [Stephanopoulos plays clips of various Republicans talking about Roy Moore and the seeming credibility of the allegations].
Does the president have any reason to doubt these young women who are making the allegations?
SHORT: George, I think that the vice president as well spoke out against this when the allegations came forward. The president has expressed his concern about this. As you noted, the president has not gone down to Alabama to campaign for Roy Moore since the primary concluded. We have serious concerns about the allegations that have been made. But we also believe that all this information is out there for the people of Alabama. Roy Moore has been a public servant for decades in Alabama; he has run multiple times. The people of Alabama know best what to do and the right decision to make.
STEPHANOPOULOS: They may, but I'm asking you a direct question on behalf of the president. You work for the president. Does the president believe the women or not?
SHORT: Obviously, George, if he did not believe that the women's accusations were credible, he would be down campaigning for Roy Moore. He has not done that. He has concerns about the accusations. But he's also concerned that these accusations are 38 years old; Roy Moore has been in public service for decades and the accusations did not arise until a month before election. So, we are concerned about several aspects of the story. We are very concerned about the allegations. But at this point, as I've said, we think it's best for the people of Alabama to make the decision for them.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So you're not willing to make a yes or no judgment on whether the president believes the women?
SHORT: I think I've answered your question three times now.
STEPHANOPOULOS: No, I think what you said is you've said you have questions and concerns about the allegations...
SHORT: We do have serious questions about the allegations, and the president has raised those, which is one of the reasons he has not gone down to campaign for Roy Moore.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So, he promised after the primary to back Roy Moore. Is he still backing Roy Moore?
SHORT: I don't think you've seen him go down there and campaign for him; I don't think you've seen him issue an endorsement; you've not seen him issue robocalls. I think he thinks at this point it is best for the people of Alabama to make the decision for their state.