Conway: Trump Criticized Franken Instead Of ‘Eight Days Old’ Moore Story

White House senior advisor Kellyanne Conway listens to a question from a reporter during a press conference at the North Carolina Republican Party State Convention at the Wilmington Convention Center in Wilmington, N.C., Saturday, June 3, 2017. (AP Photo/Mike Spencer)
Mike Spencer/FR171472 AP

White House adviser Kellyanne Conway said Friday that President Donald Trump has not personally commented on allegations made against U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore because they were old news.

In an interview on Fox News, Conway contrasted Trump’s silence on Moore with his quick condemnation of Sen. Al Franken (D-MN), who apologized Thursday for appearing, in a photo, to grope Los Angeles news anchor Leeann Tweeden during a 2006 USO tour. Tweeden also accused Franken of forcibly kissing her during a rehearsal for a skit they performed for the troops together, but Franken said he remembered the rehearsal differently.

“Al Franken was a brand new news story yesterday and the President weighed in, as he does, on the news of the day, often enough,” Conway said. “The Roy Moore story is eight days old, and the President put out a statement during his Asia trip on that.”

She continued: “Since then, our press secretary has spoken on behalf of the President by saying that he believes the people of Alabama will sort out what to do with Roy Moore and with that election.”

The Washington Post first reported last week on four women who said Roy Moore pursued relationships with them when they were teenagers and he was in his 30s. One woman, Leigh Corfman, said Moore made sexual advances on her when she was 14. On Monday, another woman, Beverly Young Nelson, alleged Moore sexually assaulted her when she was 16. Numerous other women have since alleged misconduct by Moore. He has denied all wrongdoing and accused the media of spreading falsehoods.

Since he returned from a trip to Asia late Tuesday, Trump has repeatedly ignored reporters’ questions about Moore.

The White House said in a statement last week that Moore should drop out of the race if the allegations against him are true, but also that Trump “believes that we cannot allow a mere allegation ― in this case, one from many years ago ― to destroy a person’s life.”

On Thursday, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said simply that Trump thought the allegations against Moore were “very troubling” but that “the people of Alabama should make the decision on who their next senator should be.”

That did not go nearly as far as, for example, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who has said he believes Moore’s accusers and called on Moore to step aside from the Senate race. Both the RNC and NRSC have cut off their relationships with Moore.

During the 2016 campaign, Trump was accused by more than a dozen women of sexual harassment and assault. And he said on tape that he could kiss and grab women without their consent because of his fame.

Conway alluded to those allegations earlier in her interview Friday, saying she had “tried to make this an issue last year,” referring to sexual harassment, but “nobody listened because of the campaign I was managing.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Matt Shuham is a news writer for TPM. He was previously assistant editor of The National Memo and managing editor of the Harvard Political Review. He is available by email at mshuham@talkingpointsmemo.com and on Twitter @mattshuham.

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