President Trump suggested on Tuesday that voters in Alabama should support the embattled Republican Senate candidate, Roy Moore, because the alternative on the ballot is a Democrat.
Moore’s campaign has derailed in recent days after nine women accused him of behavior ranging from uncomfortable and unwanted overtures to sexual assault. Most of the accusers said the misconduct occurred when they were teenagers and Moore was in his 30s.
Trump told reporters at the White House that “we don’t need a liberal person in there,” a reference to Doug Jones, the Democratic candidate. Asked if having an alleged molester in the Senate was preferable to seating a Democrat, Trump pointed to Moore’s denials.
“Well, he denies it,” Trump said. “Look, he denies it.”
“He says it didn’t happen, and you know, you have to listen to him also,” he added.
Trump did not rule out campaigning for Moore before the special election on Dec. 12.
In an appearance on “Fox & Friends” Monday, Kellyanne Conway, a top Trump adviser, similarly seemed to suggest that voters dismiss the claims against Moore and vote for the Republican.
“Doug Jones in Alabama — folks, don’t be fooled,” Conway said. “He’ll be a vote against tax cuts. He’s weak on crime, weak on borders. He’s strong on raising your taxes. He’s terrible for property owners.”
“So vote Roy Moore?” co-host Brian Kilmeade asked.
“I’m telling you we want the votes in the Senate to get this tax bill through,” she replied.
Meanwhile, at a press conference in Montgomery, Ala., on Tuesday afternoon, Dean Young, Moore’s chief strategist, said Conway’s comments show how important the Alabama Senate race is to the Trump presidency.
“That’s why you saw Kellyanne come out yesterday and say we’ve got to have somebody like Judge Moore,” Young said, adding: “You know, Kellyanne does talk for the White House.”
Trump was also asked Tuesday about the current political climate, which has seen numerous powerful men in Hollywood, media and politics accused of various shades of sexual misconduct.
“Women are very special,” Trump responded. “I think it’s a very special time because a lot of things are coming out, and I think that’s good for our society. And I think it’s very, very good for women. And I’m very happy a lot of these things are coming out, and I’m very happy, I’m very happy it’s being exposed.”
Trump himself has faced more than a dozen allegations of various forms of misconduct, with most of the women coming forward during last year’s campaign. The October 2016 release of an “Access Hollywood” tape revealed that Trump bragged in 2005 that he could grope and forcibly kiss women without their consent. White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders has said the administration’s position is that all of Trump’s accusers are lying.