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GOP Senators Drop Endorsements Of Roy Moore

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Update:Sen. Bill Cassidy (La.) withdrew his support of Roy Moore on Saturday, joining Sens. Steve Daines (Mont.) and Mike Lee (Utah).

Earlier:Two Republican senators withdrew their endorsements of Roy Moore on Friday evening, becoming the first prominent politicians to drop their support for the Alabama Republican nominee in the U.S. Senate race. 

Moore has been under fire since The Washington Post published areportThursday detailing allegations from four women who said Moore pursued them when they were teenagers and he was in his 30s. 

The most serious story came from Leigh Corfman, who said she was just 14 when Moore sexually assaulted her. 

While some GOP politicians have saidMoore should step aside, Sens. Steve Daines (Mont.) and Mike Lee (Utah) are the first Moore backers to do so. 

Daines made his announcement on Twitter.

Lee revealed his decision to a writer for The Washingtonian, citing both the accusations of Moore’s misconduct and his response to the allegations.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee, the campaign arm of the Senate GOP, also severed financial ties with Moore on Friday.

Roy Moore, the GOP Senate nominee in Alabama, is under growing pressure to step aside amid allegations of sexual misconduct with minors.

Moore, a far-right social conservativetwice removedfrom the Alabama Supreme Court for defying federal court orders, was never the so-called Republican establishment’s preferred candidate to fill the Senate seat vacated by the appointment of Attorney General Jeff Sessions. 

But with the backing of Steve Bannon, PresidentDonald Trump’s former chief strategist, Mooredefeated interim Sen. Luther Strange (R-Ala.)in the GOP primary in September. Trump had endorsed Strange, and a super PAC associated with Senate Majority LeaderMitch McConnell(R-Ky.) spent millions trying to quash Moore’s bid.

Moore has drawn the ire of civil rights groups for his extreme positions. Among other stances, Moore has argued thathomosexual intercourse should be illegal and thatMuslims should not be allowedto serve in Congress.

Once Moore became the nominee, however, the nationalRepublican Partymostly embraced him, with at least one GOP lawmaker offering that he thoughtMoore would support tax cuts, a key Republican priority. Moore facesDemocrat Doug Jones, a former U.S. attorney, in a Dec. 12 special election.

Since the Post published the accusations of sexual misconduct on Thursday, most GOP leaders have remained hesitant to completely disavow him. McConnell and other prominent Republican senators insisted on await-and-see approachon Thursday, arguing that Moore should drop out if additional proof emerges verifying the accounts of the women who spoke to the Post.

In Moore’s more detailed response to the accusations on Friday ― the comments that rankled Sen. Lee ― he onlyfirmly deniedassaulting Corfman, who claims he engaged in unwanted kissing and groping when she was 14.

“It never happened, and I don’t even like hearing it,” Moore said on Sean Hannity’s radio show on Friday.

He conceded in the interview that he knew two of the other women, who were 17 and 18 when they say Moore tried to date them, but claimed he never gave them alcohol and he didn’t remember trying to date them.

Asked by Hannity if he remembered dating teenagers when he was in his 30s, Moore said, “Not generally, no.”

“I don’t remember that, or dating any girl without the permission of her mother,” he added.

This article has been updated with more details on the accusations against Roy Moore and his denial Friday.

This article originally appeared on HuffPost.

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