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Opinion Two admittees for the hall of shame: Those who enable Roy Moore

"I believe the women," who accused Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore of sexual misconduct, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said on Nov. 13. (Video: The Washington Post)
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The Republican mentality that enables President Trump because of [fill in the blank — the Supreme Court, tax reform, etc.] despite his obvious unfitness for office and still defends him with “But Neil Gorsuch!” or “But a 20 percent corporate tax rate!” inevitably leads Republicans to defend and excuse Republican Alabama Senate nominee Roy Moore’s alleged child sexual predation. If the only thing that matters is holding power, then anything is acceptable, including electing a senator accused by four different women of inappropriate sexual advances when they were teenagers (accounts that were supported by some 30 interviews). Having justified Trump’s immoral, dangerous and dishonest behavior — not to mention replete evidence of temperamental unwellness — Republicans have put out the welcome mat for any monster with an “R” after his name. We should not have been surprised to see the monstrous efforts to defend Moore.

Kellyanne Conway went around and around and around with ABC’s Martha Raddatz on “This Week.” Her evasion is worth quoting at length:

RADDATZ: Do you have any doubt about the veracity of those accusations?
CONWAY: I said very early in this process that the conduct as described should disqualify anyone from serving in public office. And I’ll stand by that.
The president and others in the Republican Party have made clear that if the allegations are true, this man should step aside. But I’ve gone farther than that, and I’ve reflected something the vice president said as well, which is everybody should know that conduct is disqualifying. And Mr. Moore has denied that conduct. I think you’ve got other people are out there talking about what did or did not happen many years ago.
RADDATZ: But that goes back to that if, if. If we prove this conduct, then he should leave. What is it that has to happen now for you to go into he should step aside?
CONWAY: Well, the one thing I will say is that the president also is not as focused on this as he is his major 13-day trip abroad. And so he made a statement. He’s sticking by that statement. But he’s not being briefed on this bit by bit because he is very focused new trade agreements. He is very focused on global cooperation against a nuclearized North Korea. He is very focused on combating terrorism.
RADDATZ: And we’ll get to that …
RADDATZ: And we’ll get back to that. But let me ask you again, do you have any doubt about the veracity of the accusations?
CONWAY: Martha, I only know what I read. And I take very seriously allegations like this, particularly when they involve somebody who happened to be one of my daughters’ ages. I take this seriously. I have tried to be a very loud voice for a very long time against sexual —
RADDATZ: So you believe the accusers?
CONWAY: — impropriety. I know what I read. I don’t know the accusers. And I don’t know Judge Moore. But I also want to make sure that we as a nation are not always prosecuting people through the press. He has denied the allegations. I have read the stories. I have heard not the testimony and the evidence, but what people are saying publicly. …
RADDATZ: But we’re still — I mean, Roy Moore says that too, that conduct like that should be disqualifying. He’s just saying he didn’t do it. So what is the standard of proof here? It’s one thing to say this is terrible conduct. It is terrible conduct. I’m not sure anyone would disagree with you. But the question is, and you are an adviser to the president, you have been following this, what is your standard of proof here?
I mean, you either believe the women or you don’t. And this isn’t a trial.
CONWAY: Well, you said it best. It’s not a trial. What do you mean the standard of proof and the evidence?
RADDATZ: But what I mean, what does it take for you to say, he should resign? What has to happen before you would advise the president to say, Roy Moore should step aside?
CONWAY: The president said he should step aside if the allegations are true.
RADDATZ: If, if, if. So where does the “if” lie?
CONWAY: But, Martha, hold on, I want to broaden this conversation. It would be a very dangerous precedent for any of us, for any person in this country to just be cast aside as guilty because of press reports. This is a democracy with a constitutional system that allows us to have a process. So if — we’re not in trial here. I only know what I read.
And what I read is very disturbing. And what I read offends me greatly as a woman, as a mother of three young girls.
RADDATZ: Understood. But you’re — what you’re saying essentially is maybe those four women are lying?
CONWAY: No, I didn’t say that.
RADDATZ: You have four women who The Post talked to.
CONWAY: I didn’t say that. I didn’t say that. Okay, I didn’t say that. But I also know that credibility has not been imbued on other people when they’ve tried to raise issues like this based on their political affiliation and based on who they work for. And we know that. … I want to be very clear. I want to be very explicit here. I denounce that conduct. And if the allegations are true, he should step aside. And if the allegations are true about a lot of people, they ought to step aside. And some of them are probably holding office right now. …
RADDATZ: So let me ask you one more question on this. Do you believe Leigh Corfman?
CONWAY: I don’t know Leigh Corfman. I believe that both sides are alleging different things here. You’re asking me —
RADDATZ: So, that means it goes nowhere?
CONWAY: No, that’s not true. That is not true.
RADDATZ: How does it go somewhere?

Raddatz got no answer. Conway doesn’t have the decency to call for Moore to get out, nor the nerve to call the women liars. So she’s content to see Moore elected to the Senate.

Then there is legislative affairs director Marc Short, who had this very similar conversation on “Meet the Press”:

CHUCK TODD: You have heard Roy Moore’s denials. Has he comforted you or has he made you more skeptical of the situation?
SHORT: Now Chuck, let me first that say I have a 9-year-old daughter as you know, and I think that the notion of innocent, defenseless children being molested is one of the most painful thoughts a parent can have. And I think that there’s a special place in hell for those who actually perpetrate these crimes, and I think Roy Moore has to do more explaining than he has done so far. But I think we here in Washington have to be careful as well in this. Roy Moore is somebody who graduated from West Point, he served our country in Vietnam, he’s been elected multiple times statewide in Alabama. The people in Alabama know Roy Moore better than we do here in D.C., and I think we have to be very cautious, as Senator Toomey said, of allegations that are 40 years old that arise a month before election day.

(For future reference, don’t invoke your 9-year-old daughter when defending an alleged predator; it looks like you are hiding behind your own child.) Todd pressed him on whether the president would weigh in:

SHORT: Chuck, he did insert himself. He supported Luther Strange in the primary against Roy Moore. People are forgetting that. This president has been engaged there.
TODD: Would he get re-engaged there?
SHORT: I think the president’s obviously on a very important trip, and when he returns I think we’ll have that conversation, Chuck. But I think that people here in this town have an inflated view of what our views are. And it’s important for the people of Alabama to be allowed the chance to discern the truth here and make the right decision.
TODD: So if Alabama certifies that they’re okay with Roy Moore, but this allegation in your mind, he hasn’t answered enough questions and they still send him, isn’t it fair if Senate Republicans — you heard Senator Toomey there was not ready to say whether he would be comfortable having him seated in the U.S. Senate, do you understand where he comes from?
SHORT: Absolutely, if more evidence comes out that can prove that he did this, then sure, by all means he should be disqualified. But that’s a huge if, and I think we have to allow that more facts come out.
TODD: What are the more facts?
SHORT: Roy Moore has said that this week he plans to come forward with more evidence to support his innocence.
TODD: And if that evidence doesn’t work, what does that mean? You guys are going to step in, is this Senate seat that important?
SHORT: There’s no Senate seat more important than the notion of child pedophilia, Chuck. I mean that’s reality. But having said that, he has not been proven guilty. We have to afford him the chance to defend himself.

Condemning child predation should never be followed by a sentence beginning “but having said that …”

Short and Conway know about the mound of evidence against Moore, and they no doubt heard Moore’s pathetic, squeamish answers to Sean Hannity’s softball questions. Asking for more facts (these are the same people who advance accusations against Hillary Clinton with no facts) beyond four women and roughly 30 interviews amounts to saying that no amount of evidence will suffice. You do wonder how these people sleep at night.