The White House reacted Friday to a series of sexual misconduct allegations leveled against Republican Senate candidate Judge Roy Moore, saying that President Donald Trump believes if they are proven true then Moore should “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,” press secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters on Air Force One en route to Da Nang, Vietnam. “However, the president also believes that if these allegations are true, Judge Moore will do the right thing and step aside.”
Moore has vehemently denied allegations reported by The Washington Post from four separate women, including one who accused Moore of engaging in sexual activity with her when she was just 14 years old in the late 1970s.
“The Obama-Clinton Machine’s liberal media lapdogs just launched the most vicious and nasty round of attacks against me I’ve EVER faced! We are are in the midst of a spiritual battle with those who want to silence our message,” Moore said in a statement Thursday.
Immediately following the report, multiple GOP senators called on Moore to step down from his run in Alabama’s special election to fill Jeff Sessions‘ seat if the allegations were proven true. The Washington Post said its reporting was based on accounts provided by “more than 20 people who said they knew Moore between 1977 and 1982.”
Moore’s run for the Senate was widely promoted by former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, who worked against Trump in the GOP primary after the president endorsed Moore’s opponent Sen. Luther Strange.
Bannon reacted to the report in a speech in New Hampshire on Thursday evening comparing it to the infamous “Access Hollywood” tape first published by the Washington Post in which Trump was recorded bragging about groping women.
“The Bezos-Amazon-Washington Post that dropped that dime on Donald Trump, is the same Bezos-Amazon-Washington Post that dropped the dime this afternoon on Judge Roy Moore,” Bannon said. “Now is that a coincidence? That’s what I mean when I say opposition party, right?”
Following Moore’s win in September, Trump downplayed his support for Strange and threw his support behind Moore’s run against Democratic candidate Doug Jones.
The Alabama Secretary of State’s office told ABC News Thursday that regardless of Moore’s decision on whether to stay in the race, his name will still appear on the ballot according to state law. The special election is set for Dec. 12.