Alabama Republicans are rushing to the defense of Senate candidate Roy Moore in the aftermath of an explosive report he pursued multiple teenagers when he was in his 30s.
While national Republican Party leaders have been more explicit in condemning Moore’s alleged actions, GOP faithful in Moore’s home state have largely stood by him since The Washington Post report was published Thursday. Moore has called the story, in which four women accuse Moore of pursuing them when they were between the ages of 14 and 18, “lies” and a “filthy and sleazy” attack. The White House has said that President Donald Trump hopes Moore “will do the right thing and step aside” if the allegations are true.
Here are the different ways Alabama Republicans have defended Moore.
Republicans say the timing is suspicious
“It’s odd to me that this information has just been introduced. In all the campaigns Judge Moore has ever run before ― and he has run a lot of them, probably a dozen campaigns. It’s very, very odd to me this information has just been introduced,” Republican Secretary of State John Merrill told The Huffington Post.
Madison County GOP Chairman Sam Givhan told The Huffington Post: “I’m obviously suspicious. After all, some of these allegations are 40 years old. The man’s been elected twice. Run two other times. Never came up before. Pretty amazing, the timing of this.”
They say Moore’s accusers aren’t trustworthy
Alabama State Rep. Ed Henry told the Cullman Times: “If they believe this man is predatory, they are guilty of allowing him to exist for 40 years. I think someone should prosecute and go after them. You can’t be a victim 40 years later, in my opinion.”
Merrill also told ThinkProgress the women might be lying. “People make things up all the time,” he said. “Do I think it’s possible they made this up? I do.”
They say Democrats put Moore’s accusers up to it
Covington County GOP Chairman William Blocker told a Toronto Star correspondent that he thinks Democrats convinced Moore’s accusers to lie in order to damage him. “If they said she was a Hillary supporter, then she’d be more dismissed by the local voters here in the state of Alabama,” Blocker said of how the Democrats would pick women to pressure. “You’d have to paint her as a Trump supporter to be of any credibility.” He continued: “There is no option to support to support Doug Jones, the Democratic nominee. When you do that, you are supporting the entire Democrat party.”
Alabama Mobile County GOP chairman John Skipper told the same reporter: “I think it is a typical Democratic – Democrat – ploy to discredit Judge Moore, a sincere, honest, trustworthy individual.”
What Moore is accused of doing happens in the Bible
“Zachariah and Elizabeth for instance. Zachariah was extremely old to marry Elizabeth and they became the parents of John the Baptist,” Alabama state auditor Jim Ziegler told the Washington Examiner. “Also take Joseph and Mary. Mary was a teenager and Joseph was an adult carpenter. They became parents of Jesus.”
Even if the allegations against Moore are true, it’s not a big deal
“There is nothing to see here,” Ziegler also told the Washington Examiner. “The allegations are that a man in his early 30s dated teenage girls. Even the Washington Post report says that he never had sexual intercourse with any of the girls and never attempted sexual intercourse.”
“It was 40 years ago,” Alabama Marion County GOP chair David Hall told the Toronto Star journalist. “I really don’t see the relevance of it. He was 32. She was supposedly 14. She’s not saying that anything happened other than they kissed.”
“Other than being with an underage person – he didn’t really force himself,” Alabama Geneva County GOP chairman Riley Seibenhener also told the Toronto Star writer. “I know that’s bad enough, but I don’t know. If he withdraws, it’s five weeks to the election…that would concede it to the Democrat.”