Remember the Access Hollywood recording? Donald Trump was heard to say that if you’re famous, it’s easy to sexually abuse women. It seemed like he was toast. But he ended up winning despite it. So when the allegations came to light about Alabama senate special election candidate Roy Moore, Trump was delighted that he was thousands of miles away, on an Asian trip. He could just say that he was not aware of it.
The Alabama race had already been a headache for Trump. Mo Brooks was leading in the polls in the primary, and he could clearly claim that he was the biggest Trump booster in the race. But for some reason, Trump supported incumbent Luther Strange, instead. That’s odd, because we’re talking about Alabama. A ham sandwich could be elected ahead of a Democrat there. Because of Trump’s backing, Brooks dropped precipitously in the polls, and Strange and Roy Moore won slots for a run-off, since none of them had won 50% in the primary.
Trump was mostly silent during the runoff campaign, although we reported that Moore apparently was given Trump’s email list, with which to solicit funds nationally. But those emails stopped, and a few days later, Trump “endorsed” Strange, but even before the election, Trump told the crowd he may have “made a mistake” in backing Strange. With that kind of “faint praise,” Moore easily won. Then Moore’s dating past came to light, because since the Harvey Weinstein story, women are coming forward with abuse stories.
Once those “dating little girls” stories came out, the national Republican Party condemned Moore, even pulling funding. Senate Leader Mitch McConnell said he believed the charges, and said Moore should “step down.” In response, Moore said McConnell should be the one to step down, according to the Daily Caller.
Unfortunately, it was too late for Moore’s name to be removed from the Republican ballot slot, and a write-in campaign would be very difficult. Luther Strange had name recognition, but after the way he was treated, he said he wasn’t interested in a write-in campaign, according to the Washington Examiner.
A better option would be Jeff Sessions, whose seat they’re trying to fill, and that would make Trump happy, since Trump has made it very clear that he’s disappointed in Sessions as attorney general. But while Sessions said he has no reason to doubt the charges against Moore, he wants to stay in his current administration job.
Despite national condemnation, the Alabama governor says SHE will vote for Moore, and the Alabama Republican Party has stood behind Moore, so it became a new battle against the “Establishment.” And that gave Trump his “out.” All he had to do is say he’d “let the people decide.” That was followed up with Kellyanne Conway saying that Trump doesn’t care about the abuse charges—he just wants an extra vote for the tax bill, according to the Washington Times.
Kellyanne Conway seemingly soften her position on Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore Monday, warning Republicans that his opponent could harm tax reform. . .
“Doug Jones in Alabama, folks, don’t be fooled. He will be a vote against tax cuts. He is weak on crime, weak on borders. He is strong on raising your taxes. He is terrible for property owners,” Mrs. Conway, counselor to President Trump, said on Fox News. Mr. Jones is the Democratic candidate running against Mr. Moore, the state’s former chief justice.
When Mrs. Conway was pushed about whether people in Alabama should therefore support Mr. Moore, she continued to cite Mr. Jones’ liberal politics and then brought up allegations made against Democratic Sen. Al Franken.
This was a more evasive stance from what Mrs. Conway said last week when discussing Mr. Moore’s controversial behavior.
“There is no Senate seat worth more than a child,” she said Thursday on Fox News.
Mr. Moore has been accused by several women of pursuing inappropriate sexual relationships with them while they were teenagers. One woman, Leigh Corfman, said she was 14 years old at the time while Mr. Moore was 32.
The general election is set for Dec. 12.
The battle lines over Moore had been clearly drawn between McConnell and former Trump adviser Steve Bannon. But last Friday, Bannon blinked.
“The people of Alabama have got to decide,” he said. “In Alabama, let people decide and we’ll see how it turns out.” That’s a notable move away from Moore. In the early days of the Moore scandal, Bannon sought to help him by attempting to discredit the allegations by complaining the information was uncovered by the Washington Post. Bannon frequently attempts to discredit the mainstream news media as a sinister force.
Meanwhile, evangelical ministers have rallied to oppose Moore. But the Daily Caller says they’re just liberals, anyway, and, well, African-American.
Rev. William J. Barber II, former head of the North Carolina NAACP, hosted the rally at Tabernacle Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala., in response to a Thursday press conference that conservative Christian leaders held in support of Moore, according to the Associated Press. Over 100 people attended the anti-Moore rally. Speakers lambasted Moore over allegations of sexual misconduct involving teenage girls, his staunch opposition to gay marriage, refusal to recognize transgender people as a protected class, and his refusal to expand federal assistance programs like medicaid and public school funding.
So while the national Republican Party are horrified by Moore, including Sen. Susan Collins, who has called on Moore to quit the race, according to NewsMax, the State party is still behind Moore, and now, the leader of the national Republican Party, Donald J. Trump, has basically endorsed him (sometimes a “leader” doesn’t need “followers”).
The bottom line is that whether you love or hate Trump, you have to admit that he’ll do anything—anything—to get what he wants. In this case, to pass the tax bill. And that’s why Moore will be elected, and McConnell will have to back down from his pledge not to seat Moore, if he wins.