President Donald Trump has told confidants that he believes Republican Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore is innocent of the charges of sexual misconduct made against him by multiple women, the Daily Beast reported Wednesday.
Citing unnamed sources close to the President — including an administration official and a friend of Trump’s — the Daily Beast reported that Trump believes a purported inscription from Moore in a yearbook belonging to Beverly Young Nelson is a forgery, echoing the candidate’s talking point.
Nelson has accused Moore of sexually assaulting her when she was 16 and he was an assistant district attorney. Leigh Corfman told the Washington Post Moore initiated sexual contact with her when she was 14 and he was 32. Others accuse Moore of pursuing relationships with them when they were teenagers. Moore has denied all wrongdoing.
“This is not something he’s struggling with,” one unnamed senior White House official told the publication, referring to Trump’s belief of Moore’s denials.
In November, White House Director of Legislative Affairs Marc Short said of the President: “If he did not believe that the women’s accusations were credible he would be down campaigning for Roy Moore. He has not done that.”
In the subsequent weeks, Trump did in fact endorse Moore by name and advocate for his election. On Friday, four days before the Dec. 12 special election to fill Attorney Jeff Sessions’ Senate seat, Trump will hold a campaign event in Pensacola, Florida, less than an hour from Alabama. AL.com reported that his daughter-in-law, Lara Trump, sent robocalls inviting Alabama voters to the event.
On Tuesday, a reporter asked White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders how the President “reached the conclusion that all of Moore’s accusers — including those who have put forward evidence — are lying.”
“Didn’t say they were lying,” Sanders responded. “The President’s position hasn’t changed; still finds those concerning.”
Asked for comment by TPM Wednesday, Sanders did not respond to say whether she stood by the remark.