President Trump on Monday offered his most explicit endorsement to date of Roy Moore, the embattled Republican Senate candidate in Alabama who stands accused of making unwanted sexual advances toward teenage girls more than three decades ago.
“We need Republican Roy Moore to win in Alabama,” Trump declared in an early morning tweet, leaving no question that he was supporting a Senate nominee whom many other Republican leaders have repudiated and called upon to quit the race.
Trump tweeted: “Democrats refusal to give even one vote for massive Tax Cuts is why we need Republican Roy Moore to win in Alabama. We need his vote on stopping crime, illegal immigration, Border Wall, Military, Pro Life, V.A., Judges 2nd Amendment and more. No to Jones, a Pelosi/Schumer Puppet!”
Trump also called the 70-year-old Moore, a former Alabama state judge, and told him, "Go get 'em, Roy!," according to Moore's account of the call. Moore tweeted, "Just got off the phone with President Trump who offered his full support and said he needs a fighter to help him in the US Senate."
Raj Shah, the White House's principal deputy press secretary, said in a statement, “The president had a positive call with Judge Roy Moore during which they discussed the state of the Alabama senate race and the president endorsed Judge Moore's campaign.”
Trump has weighed in on the Alabama race in recent days, attacking Democratic nominee Doug Jones as a liberal beholden to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.). But in his past comments, Trump had stopped short of unequivocally endorsing Moore in the special election to be held Dec. 12.
In a second tweet, Trump elaborated on his endorsement: “Putting Pelosi/Schumer Liberal Puppet Jones into office in Alabama would hurt our great Republican Agenda of low on taxes, tough on crime, strong on military and borders…& so much more. Look at your 401-k’s since Election. Highest Stock Market EVER! Jobs are roaring back!”
Moore replied to the president on Twitter by saying that he was “Thankful for President Trump's support.”
The White House has said Trump will not travel to Alabama to campaign for Moore, but the president is planning a campaign-style rally just across the state line, in Pensacola, Fla., on Friday night, four days ahead of the special election.
Pensacola is in the same media market as Mobile, Ala. Alabama voters may travel to Pensacola to see the president speak, and many probably will hear about the rally in local news reports.
The Alabama race has drawn national attention in the weeks since The Washington Post first reported accusations by multiple women that Moore initiated unwanted sexual encounters with them while he was in his 30s and they were teenagers. Moore has denied the allegations.
The contest is neck and neck, with 50 percent of likely Alabama voters supporting Jones and 47 percent backing Moore, according to a Washington Post-Schar School poll released over the weekend.