Sens. Hatch, Collins Say Moore Should Step Aside Following McConnell’s Call

Hal Yeager/FR170776 AP

Sens. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Susan Collins (R-ME) on Monday called for Alabama Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore to resign in light of allegations from four women that he pursued relationships with them when they were teenagers, including one woman who described Moore’s sexual advances on her when she was 14.

The denunciations came after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) called for Moore to “step aside” Monday morning. Hatch in particular said Moore’s opponent in the Alabama Republican Senate primary, Sen. Luther Strange (R-AL), would make an “an excellent alternative.”

Collins was one of a number of Republican senators who did not publicly support Moore even before the Post published on-the-record accusations from four women who said that Moore pursued relationships with them when they were teenagers. Hatch had reportedly said of Moore that he had “trouble” with some of his views, but that he would “support him” were Moore to be elected to the Senate.

Others who had supported Moore outright said, in response to the Post’s reporting, that they were withdrawing their support.

The former chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court — a role from which he was suspended twice over the years for disobeying a federal court’s orders — Moore once said Muslims should not be allowed to serve in Congress, and compared the Supreme Court’s ruling allowing same-sex couples marriage rights to the Dred Scott decision, which upheld slavery.

McConnell was one of a number of senators who, though they initially supported Moore’s candidacy, said he should resign if the Post’s reporting was proven true. Senate Republicans’ campaign arm, the National Republican Senatorial Committee, severed a fundraising agreement with Moore’s campaign on Friday.

Three senators who endorsed Moore prior to the Post’s reporting — Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX), John Cornyn (R-TX) and Rand Paul (R-KY) — have not withdrawn their endorsements.

The New York Times noted Monday that the only senator to refrain from issuing even an “if true” statement was Roger Wicker (R-MS).

“They’re very, very old charges,” the paper quoted him telling Mississippi News Now. “You have to ask, and I think people in Alabama will be asking, why this hasn’t come out in the 40 years’ time with him running for so many offices.”

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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