President Donald Trump spoke publicly about embattled Alabama Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore for the first time Tuesday, saying of the multiple allegations of sexual misconduct against him: “You have to listen to him also” and “He totally denies it.”
Trump stopped short of fully endorsing Moore, whose candidacy and two terms as Alabama chief justice attracted controversy even before the sexual impropriety allegations, but attacked Moore’s opponent, Democrat Doug Jones, as he spoke to reporters on the White House South Lawn before leaving Washington, D.C., to travel to Florida for the Thanksgiving holiday.
“We don’t need a liberal person in there,” said Trump, adding, “Jones — I’ve looked at his record, it’s terrible on crime. It’s terrible on the border. It’s terrible on the military.”
The White House earlier said that Trump believes that “the people of Alabama should make the decision on who their senator should be” but added that “if the allegations are true,” he believes Moore would step aside.
Trump called attention to the position Moore has taken since the accusations emerged two weeks ago.
“Let me just tell you, Roy Moore denies it. That’s all I can say. He denies it. By the way, he totally denies it,” Trump said.
He teased that he will let reporters know “next week” if he will campaign for Moore.
Asked if he had a message for women as he addressed the accusations, Trump called it “a very special time because a lot of things are coming out,” referring to the numerous public figures who have been accused of sexual misconduct over the past several weeks.
“I think it’s very, very good for women,” he said. “And I’m very happy a lot of these things are coming out. I’m very happy it’s being exposed.”
The allegations against Moore began with the publication of a Washington Post report on Nov. 9, in which it was claimed he made sexual advances on a 14-year-old girl in the late 1970s. Moore has since been accused of sexual misconduct by additional women and seen calls for him to withdraw from the Senate race from several prominent members of his party. Moore has denied all the allegations against him.
Trump was accused of sexual misconduct by more than a dozen women during last year’s presidential campaign, claims he has denied.
On the additional allegations facing Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., and Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., Trump said he only recently learned about the claims made against Conyers and, on Franken, said he would let the senator “speak for himself.”
Conyers has “expressly and vehemently” denied a report he harassed a female aide, saying in a statement Tuesday that the accusation was “resolved” with an “express denial of liability.”