Politico reports: President Donald Trump’s near-endorsement of Alabama Republican Roy Moore followed days of behind-the-scenes talks in which he vented about Moore’s accusers and expressed skepticism about their accounts.
During animated conversations with senior Republicans and White House aides, the president said he doubted the stories presented by Moore’s accusers and questioned why they were emerging now, just weeks before the election, according to two White House advisers and two other people familiar with the talks.
The White House advisers said the president drew parallels between Moore’s predicament and the one he faced just over a year ago when, during the final weeks of the 2016 campaign, Trump confronted a long line of women who accused him of harassment. He adamantly denied the claims.
The president’s private sentiments broke into the open Tuesday when Trump all but declared he believed Moore’s denials.
“Let me just tell you, Roy Moore denies it. That’s all I can say. He denies it. And, by the way, he totally denies it,” Trump told reporters. Moore, 70, who has been accused of sexually pursuing — and in some cases assaulting — teenagers or young women when he was in his 30s. [Continue reading…]
James Downie writes: Donald Trump just can’t help himself. For almost two weeks, he kept largely silent about allegations that Roy Moore, the Republican candidate for Senate in Alabama, molested underage women when he was in his 30s. But on Tuesday, the president came out against Moore’s Democratic opponent Doug Jones, arguing that “we don’t need a liberal person in [the Senate seat], a Democrat.” And besides, Trump told reporters, “He says it didn’t happen and you have to listen to him, also.”
It’s bad enough that the president is backing an accused child molester for the Senate. We’ll find out whether Alabama voters agree with him in a few weeks. In the meantime, Trump’s words are also a reminder that, in the national conversation about sexual harassers, the president’s own record needs to be at the center. And yes, that means investigations.
The evidence against Trump is damning. Seventeen different women have accused Trump of sexual harassment. He admitted on tape that he would grope women without their consent because “when you’re a star, they let you do it.” He confessed to repeatedly entering pageant rooms when contestants were naked. He told two 14-year-olds (after they informed him of their age) that “in a couple years I’ll be dating you.” He said of a young girl on a Trump Tower escalator, “I am going to be dating her in 10 years.” [Continue reading…]