MIDLAND CITY, Ala. — Kayla Moore used the final campaign rally for her husband to fire back against accusations that they hate Jews, black people and women, with an interesting choice of evidence.
“Fake news would tell you that we don’t care for Jews. But I’ll tell you all this because I see you all, I just want to set the record straight while they’re here: One of our attorneys is a Jew,” Kayla Moore said, waving towards the back of the room where reporters were gathered. “We have very close friends who are Jewish.”
The comment came towards the end of a testy and sometimes bizarre rally Monday night where she, her deeply controversial husband, Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore, and top allies lashed out at all of their enemies, real and imagined: The multiple women who’ve accused him of sexual misconduct towards them when they were teenagers, the “fake news” that covered the women’s claims, the Republican establishment that’s recoiled from Moore since the allegations broke, and the Democrats who are hoping to score a shocking victory against him on Tuesday.
It was a fitting capstone for one of the most bizarre elections in recent memory.
Moore, who’s been missing from the campaign trail for almost a week, admitted he’d gone to Philadelphia “for two and a half days” to see his son play in the Army-Navy football game, while slamming reporters daring to report on his absence. Moore’s campaign had steadily refused to say where he was, insisting he’d been doing private events around the state.
“That’s one reason I don’t talk to the media — they won’t print the truth,” he said.
The event, held in an upscale barn in the deeply conservative and rural southeast corner of the state, featured stars of the hard right including former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, former Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke and Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX). A few hundred hardcore supporters showed up, as did almost as many journalists and dozens of protestors waving signs for Moore’s opponent, Democrat Doug Jones.
Bannon painted the race as “an up or down vote between the Trump miracle and the nullification project” — and issued broadsides against the media and the GOP establishment, barely mentioning Moore for much of his speech.
“There’s a special place in hell for Republicans who should know better,” he said to cheers, seemingly tweaking first daughter Ivanka Trump for her comments that “there’s a special place in hell for people who prey on children.”
Gohmert, a former judge, said the women who have accused Moore should be jailed if they lied: “If somebody got money for trying to destroy a righteous man, there’s a place called prison.”
But both were just warm-up acts for a man who said he served in Vietnam with Moore — and told a story about the two of them being taken by another soldier to a brothel they’d thought was just a private club when they’d agreed to go. As soon as Moore realized where they were, he said they should leave immediately, the man said.
“That was Roy. Honorable, disciplined, morally straight and highly principled,” he said, describing the accusations against Moore as the “political equivalent of a Vietcong ambush.”
The race has been consumed by accusations from multiple women of sexual misconduct towards them when they were teenagers — including one who says she was 14 when Moore undressed her and put her hand on his underwear, and another who says she was 16 when Moore sexually assaulted her.
Moore has led Jones in most, but not all recent polls of the race, in a contest that’s nearly impossible to predict heading into Election Day. Alabama hasn’t seen a tight statewide race in a decade, and a Jones victory would be a huge upset even with Moore’s fatal flaws as a candidate. Jones is banking on huge black turnout and major defections from Republican women to win the race.