D.C. Republicans boost pressure on Moore, Ala.
With Alabama GOP reluctant to urge Senate candidate to quit, leaders look to Trump for help.
National GOP leaders pressure Ala. on Moore
Washington Republicans tightened pressure Tuesday on Alabama’s GOP to keep a defi
ant Roy Moore from being elected to the Senate next month, with many voicing hope that President Donald Trump could use his clout to resolve a problem that Republicans say leaves them with no easy options.
With Alabama Republicans reluctant to block Moore and enrage his legions of loyal conservative supporters, national GOP leaders were turning to Trump as their best chance of some- how turning the tide. Two women by name have said Moore molested them in the 1970s when one was 14 and the other 16 and he was a local district attorney, and three others said he pursued romantic relationships with them around the same time.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, in all-out warfare with Moore, said there’d be conversations about the anti-establish- ment firebrand after Trump returns Tuesday night from Asia. He said he’d already spoken about Moore to the president, Vice President Mike Pence and White House chief of staff John Kelly.
“He’s obviously not fit to be in the United States Senate and we’ve looked at all the options to try to prevent that from happening,” said McConnell, who Monday said he believed Moore’s accusers. “This close to election, it’s a complicated matter.” Moore has denied abus-
ing the women but has not ruled out dating teenagers at the time, when he was in his early 30s.
Twice removed from his post as state Supreme Court chief justice, Moore’s candi- dacy in the Dec. 12 special election confronts Repub- licans with two damaging
potential outcomes. A victory saddles GOP senators with a colleague accused of abus- ing and harassing teenagers, a troubling liability heading into next year’s congressional elections, while an upset victory by Democrat Doug Jones would slice the already narrow GOP Senate majority to an unwieldy 51-49.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions told Congress he has “no reason to doubt” the women. Sessions, a former Alabama senator and still one of the GOP’s most influen-
tial voices in the state, didn’t rule out a Justice Department probe of the allegations, telling the House Judi- ciary Committee, “We will evaluate every case as to whether or not it should be investigated.”
House Speaker Paul Ryan joined the pile of congressio- nal Republican saying Moore should drop out.
“These allegations are credible,” Ryan, R-Wis., told reporters. “If he cares about the values and people he claims to care about, then he should step aside.”
Two Washington Republicans, speaking on condition of anonymity to describe private conversations, said they didn’t know what Trump would do, but said the White House shares McConnell’s concerns about Moore. While few think Trump could persuade Moore to step aside, several are hoping he can persuade the Alabama state party to take some action.
Former Alabama Chief Justice and U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore (center) listens as a campaign member talks to him before Moore speaks at the Vestavia Hills Public library on Saturday in Birmingham, Ala.