President Trump on Tuesday appeared to offer support to Republican candidate Roy Moore in Alabama's U.S. Senate race, saying the former state judge “totally denies” allegations of sexual misconduct against underage girls years ago.
“He denies it,” Trump told reporters at the White House. “He says it didn't happen, and you have to listen to him, also.”
Trump criticized Moore's opponent, Democrat Doug Jones, as being “terrible on crime, terrible on borders.”
“We don’t need a liberal person in there, a Democrat,” Trump added.
The president's remarks came as Moore has faced mounting pressure from Republicans, as well as Trump's daughter, Ivanka, over accusations that he pursued romantic relations with teenage girls and engaged in sexual misconduct against two of them. Moore, who initially appeared to be headed for an easy victory in a reliably Republican state, has trailed Jones in recent polls ahead of the Dec. 12 election.
“There's a special place in hell for people who prey on children,” Ivanka Trump told the Associated Press last week. “I've yet to see a valid explanation, and I have no reason to doubt the victims' accounts.”
But President Trump said Tuesday that the accusations against Moore concern events that took place “40 years ago” and noted that the candidate has insisted “this did not happen.” Asked whether he would actively campaign for Moore, Trump said he would let reporters know next week.
On the broader revelations about alleged sexual assaults among powerful men in Hollywood and the media, Trump said it was a “very special time” and that “a lot of things are coming out that are good for our society and very good for women.”
He declined to answer questions about recent accusations lodged against Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) and Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.).
The women who have accused Moore are “Trump voters,” the president said, before again stating that Moore “totally denies it.”