Report: Trump Considers Boosting Roy Moore From Afar

Former Alabama Chief Justice and U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore speaks at  a campaign rally, Monday, Nov. 27, 2017, in Henagar, Ala. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)
Brynn Anderson/AP

While President Donald Trump has been careful to not explicitly endorse Alabama Senate Republican candidate Roy Moore, the White House is weighing its options to help the embattled candidate get elected, according to a new report.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Monday that Trump is “not planning any trip to Alabama at this time,” but the White House is mulling whether to unleash a series of robo-calls, emails and text messages, three people familiar with the conversations told Politico.

Trump has all-but endorsed Moore publicly and has indicated he believes the former judge’s denials of the sexual misconduct allegations against him. Instead of outright embracing the candidate, Trump has tweeted attacks on Moore’s Democratic opponent, former U.S. attorney Doug Jones.

In private, Trump has told Republican senators he doubts Moore’s accusers — who claim Moore pursued relationships and made inappropriate sexual advances toward them when they were teens and Moore was in his 30s — and has questioned why the allegations are surfacing now when Moore has been an elected officials for decades, according to Politico.

White House officials and the head of the Republican National Committee discussed Trump’s options for stumping for Moore during a meeting on Monday, two people familiar with the matter said.

The President’s aides who spoke with Politico said that no decision has been made on what to do in Alabama, but they said that Sanders’ choice of words — that the White House isn’t planning a trip to Alabama “at this time” — was telling of what the White House is considering.

Regardless of what Trump decides, the President’s response to the allegations is lukewarm when compared to most of the leaders in his party — like Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) — who have said the allegations are credible and have called on Moore to step aside.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Nicole Lafond is a news writer for TPM based in New York City. She is also currently earning a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University and previously worked as an education reporter at The News-Gazette in Champaign, Ill. Follow her on Twitter @Nicole_Lafond.
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