On Tuesday Alabama GOP Senate candidate Roy Moore made light of the claims that he molested a child and tried to rape a 16-year-old girl.
Moore, who has been accused of assaulting or pursuing five teenagers in the 1970s when he was in his 30s, made the remarks at a campaign event at Walker Springs Road Baptist Church in Alabama on Tuesday.
‘Obviously I’ve made a few people mad. I’m the only one that can unite Democrats and Republicans, because I seem to be opposed by both,’ he said, to laughter.
Alabama Senate hopeful Roy Moore (pictured Tuesday) joked about uniting the GOP and Dems against him during Senate run. He’s been accused of attempted rape and child molestation
Moore says GOP is against him because of his religious beliefs. Mitch McConnell (left) says he believes alleged victims; Paul Ryan (right) says Moore should drop out after claims of 1970s assaults
Moore, who’s now gunning for the Senate seat vacated when Jeff Sessions moved into the White House, has been accused by five women of abuse or impropriety.
The most serious claims include an allegation that he kissed, stripped and molested a 14-year-old girl, and sexually assaulted another girl who had just turned 16.
Three other women have said that he pursued them when they were between the ages of 16 and 18, and he was in his thirties.
Moore has denied all of the claims, but admitted to dating teenagers; others have said he was infamous for pursuing high-school girls in the 1970s.
On Tuesday Moore painted the allegations as a conspiracy by Democrats and mainstream Republicans to scupper his chances of getting into Washington in the December 12 election.
‘They’ve spent over 30 million dollars trying to take me out,’ he said.
‘They’ve done everything they can together to keep me from going to Washington, and why?
‘Well it has a lot to do with what we’re talking about tonight. We want our country to be saved by God but we’ve got a part in it, if we humble ourselves and pray and seek his face, and turn from our wicked ways.’
The former Alabama Supreme Court judge went on to paint himself as an outsider who got into ‘trouble’ after he tried to force the state’s judges to not comply with a federal ruling allowing same-sex marriage.
That decision ultimately resulted in his suspension and resignation from the Supreme Court.
Beverly Young Nelson (pictured left) says Moore attempted to rape her around Christmas 1977 just after she turned 16. He denies the claim
Nelson (seen left with a drawing of herself from the time; right with Moore’s signature on her yearbook) claimed Moore told her at the time nobody would believe her allegations
He vowed to ‘take the truth of God to our capital’ but only ‘if it’s God’s will.’
‘If it’s not God’s will, I pray that I don’t get put in that position, if that’s not what he wants,’ he said.
Moore might have been preparing a divine escape hatch in the face of strong opposition from DC Republicans, who are worried that the molestation claims will be his downfall.
If Moore fails to take the seat and Democrat opponent Doug Jones gets in instead, the Republican majority will drop from 52-48 to 51-49.
That would make passing bills nigh impossible for the GOP.
On Tuesday Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who is in all-out warfare with Moore, said the president would weigh in once he returned from Asia that day.
He said he’d already spoken about Moore to the president, Vice President Mike Pence and White House chief of staff John Kelly.
‘He’s obviously not fit to be in the United States Senate and we’ve looked at all the options to try to prevent that from happening,’ said McConnell, who has said he believes Moore’s accusers.
‘This close to election, it’s a complicated matter.’
Moore’s attempts to paint his struggle for the seat as a ‘spiritual war’ will be helped by those Republicans who agree with McConnell – and they are not in short supply.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions told Congress he has ‘no reason to doubt’ the accusers, and hasn’t ruled out a Senate investigation into Moore.
House Speaker Paul Ryan said: ‘If [Moore] cares about the values and people he claims to care about, then he should step aside.’
Republican Arizona Senator Jeff Flake has told the media that he would ‘run to the polling station’ to vote Democrat if he were registered in Alabama.
Many others have said that Moore should step down, if the complaints are true.
Moore told the crowd (pictured) that he would run for Senate ‘if it’s God’s will’. He’s also accused of molesting a 14-year-old girl in the 1970s, when he was in his 30s
Two Washington Republicans, speaking on condition of anonymity to describe private conversations, said they didn’t know what Trump would do, but said the White House shares McConnell’s concerns about Moore.
While few think Trump could persuade Moore to step aside, several are hoping he can convince the Alabama state party to take some action.
Despite the building pressure from national Republicans, state GOP office holders have taken a measured response.
The 21-member party steering committee could vote to revoke Moore’s GOP nomination and ask election officials to ignore ballots cast for him Election Day, but that would risk a lawsuit and backlash from Moore supporters.
The Moore accusations have terrified the GOP; if they lose the seat to the Dems then it will make it all but impossible for them to pass bills
The party has little interest in alienating Moore’s followers a year before elections in which the governor’s office and entire state legislature will be in play, but it remains possible.
In an interview, Moore campaign chairman Bill Armistead said he’d seen no indication the state party will ‘back off in any way.’ He said some in the party want it to pass a resolution embracing Moore.
It’s also too late to place another Republican name on the ballot, but it’s possible to organize a write-in campaign backing another Republican figure.
But so fair discussion around that has failed to coalesce into anything practical, and no write-in candidate has ever won in the state.
A spokesman for GOP Governor Kay Ivey reiterated that she would not postpone the election to give Moore’s opponents more time to organize. That would spark a legal challenge, but a possible delay remains an option, Republicans say.
ROY MOORE’S ACCUSERS
On November 9, The Washington Post printed interviews with four women who claimed that Moore had acted improperly with them in the 1970s, when he was in his thirties and they were teenagers.
Four days later another woman came forward to accuse Moore of sexually assaulting her just after she turned 16.
Moore has denied all claims, saying that he only recognized two of the women named in the Washington Post piece, and neither of the women accusing him of molestation or assault.
The age of consent is 16 in Alabama.
Corfman told The Washington Post she was 14 when Moore, then a 32-year-old district attorney, asked for her phone number.
She says he picked her up a days later, drove her to his home in the woods, and kissed her.
He picked her up again another, she said, again took her to a secluded location, and stripped both of them down to their underwear.
She says he then touched her over her bra and underpants, and made her touch his penis through his own underwear.
Two of her childhood friends said she told them at the time, and her mom says her daughter told her around 10 years later, when he became a judge.
Corfman said that she is a long-time Republican voter, and voted for Donald Trump at the presidential elections.
Beverly Young Nelson
Nelson alleged in a statement to The New York Times that Moore sexually assaulted her in either December 1977 or January 1978, when she was 16; her birthday was the previous November.
She said Moore, who had previously flirted with her – as many customers had also done – offered to give her a lift home, as her boyfriend was late.
She claims he then drove to the rear of the restaurant, in a ‘dark and deserted’ area, and began to grope her breasts and tried to force her head down to his crotch.
Frightened and tearful, she says she fought back until he gave up, at which point he told her: ‘You are a child. I am the district attorney of Etiwah County. If you tell anyone about this, no one will believe you.’
She says he either pushed her out or she fell out of the car, and that she was lying on the ground as he drove away.
Miller told the Post that she first met Moore when she was 14, and that he asked her for a date when she was 16, but her mother forbade it.
Moore has denied any encounter with Corfman, Nelson or Miller.
Debbie Wesson Gibson
Gibson said she went on dates with Moore when she was 17, but they did not involve anything other than kissing, according to The Post.
Moore confirmed to Sean Hannity that he dated Gibson.
Gloria Thacker Deason
Deason was an 18-year-old cheerleader when Moore took her on dates and plied her with wine, she told the Post. The legal drinking age in Alabama is 19. She said she did not have sexual contact with Moore.
Moore also confirmed to Hannity that he dated Deason, but said he never gave her alcohol.