President Donald Trump on Tuesday spoke publicly about scandal-plagued Senate candidate Roy Moore on Tuesday for the first time since reports of sexual abuse by Moore broke nearly two weeks ago, suggesting that he backs Moore despite the plethora of allegations against him.
“I can tell you one thing for sure: We don’t need a liberal person in there, a Democrat,” Trump told reporters outside the White House. Referring to Moore’s Democratic challenger in the Alabama Senate race, Doug Jones, Trump said, “I’ve looked at his record. It’s terrible in crime, it’s terrible in the border, it’s terrible in the military.”
Asked about the allegations of sexual misconduct, which include molesting a 14-year-old girl, Trump said, “Well he denies it. Look, he denies it.” He added, “If you look at what is really going on, and you look at all the things that have happened over the last 48 hours, he totally denies it. He says it didn’t happen. You have to listen to him also.”
Trump implied that the allegations were less believable because it took the accusers so long to come forward. “Forty years is a long time,” he said. “He’s run eight races, and this has never came up.”
These were the president’s first public comments on the Moore scandal. Top Republicans, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Sen. John McCain of Arizona, have called on Moore to exit the race.
On Tuesday, Trump also appeared to suggest that he would campaign for the embattled former judge.
“I’ll be letting you know next week,” he said when asked if he would stump for Moore. “But I can tell you, you don’t need somebody who’s soft on crime, like Jones.”