WASHINGTON – US President Donald Trump on Tuesday once again urged voters to support a Republican candidate for the US Senate who faces multiple allegations of sexual misconduct against minors dating back to the 1970s.
Tuesday’s special Senate election in Alabama, a traditionally conservative state that Donald Trump won handily in last year’s presidential balloting, pits Republican Roy Moore against Democrat Doug Jones.
“The people of Alabama will do the right thing. Doug Jones is Pro-Abortion, weak on Crime, Military and Illegal Immigration, Bad for Gun Owners and Veterans and against the WALL. Jones is a (House of Representatives Minority Leader Nancy) Pelosi/(Senate Minority Leader Chuck) Schumer Puppet. Roy Moore will always vote with us. VOTE ROY MOORE!” Trump tweeted Tuesday.
The election – held to choose a replacement for Jeff Sessions, who stepped down in January, two years into his six-year term, to become Trump’s attorney general – is crucial to Republicans because of their narrow 52-48 majority in the Senate.
Moore is strongly backed by the Steve Bannon, America First, populist wing of the Republican Party, but traditional, establishment Republicans are much more lukewarm on his candidacy.
Indeed, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called on Moore to drop out of the race after the accusations surfaced, although he later said the people of Alabama should be allowed to make their decision at the ballot box.
House Speaker Paul Ryan says Moore should have pulled out due to the multiple allegations.
Trump also had backed an establishment Republican in the primary, acting Sen. Luther Strange.
Moore, an evangelical Christian who frequently cites Bible verses and was twice suspended from his position as chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court for defying federal court orders, is facing accusations by nine women of sexual misconduct or unwanted advances several decades ago.
Most of the accusers were minors at the time.
Three say that Moore sexually abused them, with two of those alleged incidents occurring in the late 1970s and the other in 1991.
The Real Clear Politics Web site’s average of poll results shows Moore with a lead of just 2.2 percentage points over Jones.
Jones also has received high-powered support in recent days, with former President Barack Obama and ex-Vice President Joe Biden both recording robo-calls aimed at getting out the vote for the Democrat.