WASHINGTON ― Alabama Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore has executed a familiar playbook when it comes to allegations of sexual assault and harassment.
Like Donald Trump during last year’s presidential campaign, Moore has denied, obfuscated, and claimed he is the target of a liberal conspiracy in response to accusations of sexual misconduct leveled at him by several women, including one who was 14 when he allegedly assaulted her when he was a 32-year-old prosecutor.
Rather than withdraw from the race ― as Trump was similarly urged to do by a number of GOP lawmakers in early October of 2016 ― Moore has vowed to stay in and let Alabama voters decide his fate in a Dec. 12 special election against Democrat Doug Jones.
The controversial 70-year-old former Alabama Supreme Court chief justice has repeatedly denied the allegations against him. “They’re not only untrue, but they have no evidence to support them,” Moore has said.
Like Trump, Moore has attempted to frame the story as a political conspiracy organized by the media and the Democratic Party. Moore and his supporters have also labeled the allegations “a witch hunt,” questioning their source and timing.
“Y’all chose the month before (the Senate election) to bring a hit piece thinking you could influence how Alabamians vote. And that’s what makes Alabamians mad. Don’t come down here and tell us how to vote,” one Moore supporter told The Washington Post, which first broke the story.
Both men have also attempted to discredit their accusers. Trump said the women who alleged that he groped them were too unattractive for him to have done so. Moore has said he planned to provide “revelations about the motivations and context” of the women who have accused him of sexual misconduct.
Both Trump and Moore have similarly offered affirmations of their character from women as a means of defense. Moore’s campaign staged a “Women for Moore” rally that was led by the candidate’s wife, Kayla, who suggested her husband was the victim of a political hit job because “all of the very same people who were attacking President Trump are also attacking us.”
Other women gathered on stage heaped praise on Moore, calling him “a man who is beyond reproach,” and even the “closest thing to a Founding Father that we have seen in our lifetimes.”
Finally, both Trump and Moore have seized on sexual allegations against prominent Democrats in an attempt to shift attention away from their own controversies.
Moore took aim at Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) for merely calling for an investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct that have emerged against Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota and not calling on the Democrat to resign.
Trump’s campaign invited women who accused Bill Clinton of sexual misconduct to sit in the audience and speak with the press at one of his debates with the former president’s wife, 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.