In the wake of allegations that Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore pursued relationships with teenage girls while in his 30s, GOP party leaders have distanced themselves from Moore. But the hard-right conservative’s most loyal allies have contorted themselves in an attempt to defend Moore from the allegations.
Moore was quick to deny the claims, first published in the Washington Post, including one from a woman who said Moore groped her when she was 14. He painted the Post report on the accusations as a political attack from the left.
His allies jumped on board, blaming the story on liberals trying to keep Moore out of the Senate. Some of Moore’s defenders also dismissed the allegations, either arguing that the claims did not amount to much or stating that the accusations were not enough to prompt them to abandon the Republican candidate in the race.
It’s a political attack
Evangelical leader Jerry Falwell Jr. defended Moore from the allegations on Friday, dismissing the allegations as a “desperate political attack.”
Alabama state Rep. Ed Henry (R) said that Moore’s accusers may “been offered money by entities that surround the Clintons and that side of the world.”
“We know they will pay to dirty anyone’s name that’s in their way. If you believe for a second that any of these are true then shame on these women for not coming forward in the last 30 years, it’s not like this guy hasn’t been in the limelight for decades. I call B.S. myself. I think it’s all lies and fabrication,” Henry told TPM Thursday.
Sallie Bryant, the chair the Republican party in Jefferson county, Alabama, told Politico that the Washington Post report was “politically motivated.”
“I am party chairman, and so therefore I am for the party’s nominees and for our candidates, but I really feel like the timing of this is very suspicious,” Bryant said.
Breitbart News fueled the conservative narrative that the Washington Post report was the result of a conspiracy against Moore with an article that the paper worked to convince one of the women to share her story. Nancy Wells, the mother of Leigh Corfman, who accused Moore of initiating a sexual encounter with her, told Breitbart that Corfman only spoke out because of the Washington Post. Wells also said that Corfman chose to speak up for “for personal reasons,” not political ones.
With the unwavering support from his allies after the allegations, Moore on Sunday threatened to sue the Washington Post over its decision to report the allegations.
The allegations aren’t a big deal
Alabama state Auditor Jim Zeigler (R) told the Washington Examiner that the allegations are “much ado about nothing.” Zeigler said that even if the allegations are true, Moore never had sexual intercourse with any of the women. He also dismissed the revelations because the accusations are from “40 years” ago and Moore ”
“The allegations are that a man in his early 30s dated teenage girls. Even the Washington Post report says that he never had sexual intercourse with any of the girls and never attempted sexual intercourse,” Zeigler said.
He also compared Moore to biblical Joseph.
“Mary was a teenager and Joseph was an adult carpenter. They became parents of Jesus,” Zeigler told the Washington Examiner
Though none of the women who spoke with the Washington Post accused Moore of initiating sexual intercourse, Corfman said that when she was 14 and Moore was in his 30s, he kissed her, took off her shirt and pants, and touched her over her bra and underpants.
David Hall, the chair of the Marion County, Alabama, Republican Party brushed off the allegations in an interview with Toronto Star reporter Daniel Dale, emphasizing that the incidents took place decades ago and arguing that there’s nothing wrong with a 30-year-old dating a teenager.
Breitbart Editor Joe Pollak emphasized that all but one of the accusers were 16 or 18 years old at the time of their encounters with Moore. He used those accusations, which he suggested were not problematic, to try to discredit all of the Washington Post’s reporting.
“If this story is true — and I think that any story about sexual misconduct, especially with someone who is underage, is very serious — why would the Washington Post wrap it with all kinds of perfectly legitimate relationships as well as all kinds of other political clutter?” he told MSNBC’s Ali Velshi on Thursday.
Pollack did say that if the allegation that Moore groped a 14-year-old girl is true, “he’s really got some serious problems and I think that we need to drill down and find out what that is.”
Moore still preferable over Democratic candidate
Jerry Pow, the chair of the Bibb County, Alabama, GOP told Dale that he would still vote for Moore even if the allegations are true if only because he does not want the Democratic candidate to win.
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