PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) — President Donald Trump is again coming to the side of GOP Alabama Senate nominee Roy Moore despite calls from other Republican leaders that Moore should leave the race over accusations of decades-old sexual assault.
In a pair of tweets Sunday morning, Trump said “the last thing we need” in Alabama and the Senate is a “puppet” of the Democratic congressional leadership. Trump contends Moore’s opponent, Democrat Doug Jones — a former prosecutor — is “WEAK” on crime and border security, “BAD” for the military, veterans, gun rights, and itching to raise taxes “TO THE SKY.”
“Jones would be a disaster!” Trump writes in one tweet, adding in another that “Liberal Jones would be BAD!”
Two women have accused the 70-year-old Moore of sexually assaulting or molesting them decades ago, when he was in his 30s and they were teenagers. At least five others have said he pursued romantic relationships when they were teenagers and he was a prosecutor. Moore vehemently denies the allegations.
A spokesman for the Jones campaign could not immediately be reached by phone for comment. Jones is best known for leading the prosecution of two Ku Klux Klansmen who bombed the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham in 1963, killing four girls.
Top Republicans in Congress, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan, have called for Moore to leave the race, and the Republican National Committee and the National Republican Senatorial Committee have pulled their support for his campaign.
“He’s definitely trying to throw a lifeline to Roy Moore,” Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said of Trump in an interview Sunday with CNN’s “State of the Union.”
But Graham said when it comes to Moore, it’s unclear “what winning looks like.”
“If he wins, we get the baggage of him winning and it becomes a story every day about whether or not you believe the women or Roy Moore, should he stay in the Senate, should he be expelled. If you lose, you give the Senate seat to a Democrat at a time we need all the votes we can get,” he said, referencing Republicans’ current 52-48 majority in the Senate.
“The moral of the story is: Don’t nominate somebody like Roy Moore who could actually lose a seat that any other Republican could win,” Graham said.
The special election to fill the seat held by Republican Jeff Sessions, now the U.S. attorney general, is Dec. 12.