White House: Roy Moore Sexual Harassment Claims A ‘Mere Allegation’

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a news conference with Shinzo Abe, Japan's prime minister, not pictured, at Akasaka Palace in Tokyo, Japan, on Monday, Nov. 6, 2017. Photographer: Kiyoshi Ota/Bloomberg
Kiyoshi Ota/Bloomberg Pool

The White House on Friday weighed in on an allegation that Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore (R) once molested a 14-year-old girl, calling the charge a “mere allegation” but allowing that Moore should “step aside” if it is true.

“Like most Americans the president believes we cannot allow a mere allegation, in this case one from many years ago, to destroy a person’s life,” press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters aboard Air Force One. “However, the president also believes that if these allegations are true, Judge Moore will do the right thing and step aside.”

President Donald Trump, who is currently in the middle of a tour throughout Asia, voiced his backing for Moore after the former Alabama State Supreme Court justice handily won the GOP Senate primary in September.

His comments broadly echo those of GOP leaders like Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) who said that Moore needed to leave the race if the allegations that he’d pursued relationships with multiple teenage women were true.

The Washington Post reported Thursday on the stories of four women who accused Moore of coming on to them when they were teenagers, including one who said she was 14 when Moore took her to his home and initiated sexual contact.

Sanders spent only a few words discussing the allegations before telling reporters that the “president must and will remain focused on representing our country on his historic trip to Asia, where he has been treated with great respect and made unprecedented progress in further strengthening alliances.”

Trump himself has been uncharacteristically quiet and on-message since the news broke, keeping his tweets focused on his visits to China and Vietnam.

During the presidential campaign, over a dozen women accused him of sexual harassment and assault. Trump has maintained that they were all lying to damage his political career.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Allegra Kirkland is a New York-based reporter for Talking Points Memo. She previously worked on The Nation’s web team and as the associate managing editor for AlterNet. Follow her on Twitter @allegrakirkland.
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