Fox News host Sean Hannity called for Roy Moore, the Republican candidate running for Alabama’s open Senate seat, to withdraw from the race if he cannot clear up allegations that he sexually abused teenage girls when he was in his 30s.
The change in Hannity’s tune comes after several companies pulled their advertisements from his Fox News program and radio show over his coverage of the allegations of four women published in The Washington Post last week. On Sunday, a fifth woman came forward to say Moore sexually assaulted her when she was 16 and he was in his 30s.
″For me, the judge has 24 hours,” Hannity said Tuesday night. “He must immediately and fully come up with a satisfactory explanation for your inconsistencies that I just showed. You must remove any doubt. If he can’t do that, then Judge Moore needs to get out of this race.”
As women came forward last week accusing Moore of sexual abuse, Hannity seemed to defend the Republican candidate. He moderated a segment on the myth that women often lie about sexual harassment, and he even appeared to suggest that Moore’s relations with teenagers may have been “consensual.” He later apologized for the latter comment, saying he “misspoke.”
Multiple Republicans in Congress, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, have called for Moore to drop out of the race. The Republican National Committee pulled its funding from Moore’s campaign on Tuesday.
Moore has denied the women’s allegations and has vowed to stay in the race, which will send Alabama voters to the polls Dec. 12.
Clarification: The headline has been amended to reflect that Sean Hannity’s call for Roy Moore to drop out of the Senate race was conditional.