WASHINGTON ― The White House relayed President Donald Trump’s response late Thursday to bombshell allegations that Alabama GOP Senate nominee Roy Moore sexually molested a 14-year-old girl in 1979.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, traveling with the president on his trip to Asia, told reporters that Trump “believes that we cannot allow a mere allegation ― in this case, one from many years ago ― to destroy a person’s life” but that if the allegations are true, “Judge Moore will do the right thing and step aside.”
A spokesperson for Vice President Mike Pence said the veep “found the allegations in the story disturbing and believes, if true, this would disqualify anyone from serving in office.”
Moore’s campaign denied the allegations, which The Washington Post first reported, telling the paper the accusations of four women are “the very definition of fake news.” The Post reporters talked to more than 30 sources in the course of their investigation.
On Thursday, numerous Republican lawmakers on Capitol Hill called on Moore to drop out of the race ― if the allegations are true.
During his 2016 campaign, Trump dismissed allegations of sexual misconduct against himself from more than a dozen women and threatened to sue some of his accusers. He claimed that a 2005 tape of him bragging about sexual assault, which was released last fall, was “locker room talk.”
In September, Moore, a controversial judge in Alabama, won the primary for the special election. He beat GOP establishment candidate Sen. Luther Strange (R-Ala.), who was chosen to fill the seat left vacant when Jeff Sessions became Trump’s attorney general.
Trump notably backed Strange over Moore, though many members of his base, including former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, supported Moore.
But after Moore won, Trump disavowed his endorsement of Strange, deleting tweets in support of him. And the day after the primary, the president tweeted in support of Moore, calling him “a really great guy.”