WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump on Tuesday did not rule out backing the Senate candidacy of Republican Roy Moore, who in recent days has been accused of sexual harassment by eight women, saying that any option is better than the presence of another “liberal” in the upper house.
“I can tell you one thing for sure, we don’t need a liberal person in there, a Democrat, (Doug) Jones,” Trump told reporters, referring to Moore’s Democratic rival for the vacant Alabama Senate seat.
“I’ve looked at his record – it’s terrible on crime. It’s terrible at the borders. I can tell you, we do not need somebody that’s going to be bad on crime, bad on borders, bad with the military, bad with the Second Amendment,” said the president before departing for his exclusive Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida, for the Thanksgiving holiday.
Trump’s remarks, his first on the controversial matter, came days after eight women accused Moore, a former judge, of having sexually abused them during the 1970s when some of them were between 14 and 18 years of age.
The president, who did not say whether he will campaign in favor of Moore, said that Moore “totally denies” the allegations, although he also did not say whether or not he believes those denials.
“He denies it, look he denies it,” Trump said. “If you look at ... all the things that have happened over the last 48 hours, he totally denies it. He says it didn’t happen. And you know, you have to listen to him also.”
The president suggested that he would “be letting you know next week” whether he’ll campaign for Moore prior to the Dec. 12 special election for the Senate seat, although he had previously expressed his preference for Republican candidate Luther Strange before Moore defeated him in the primary.
When asked about the message he, as president, wanted to send to the nation about the issue, Trump said, “Women are very special, I think it’s a very special time. There’s a lots of things that are coming out and I think that’s good for society. And I think it’s very, very good for women. I’m very happy it’s being exposed.”
Trump has been accused by a number of women of acting inappropriately with them before he was president, and he claimed in a videotape that emerged during the 2016 campaign that women would let rich celebrities like him do “anything” to them, including grab their genitals.
After the recent revelations about Hollywood film producer Harvey Weinstein, who stands accused by dozens of women of sexual abuse, the country finds itself immersed in a growing controversy over sexual harassment by rich and powerful celebrities, media figures and politicians.