Roy Moore, Alabama’s embattled GOP candidate for U.S. Senate, spoke to would-be supporters Tuesday night in his first major public appearance since five women came forward alleging he pursued them when they were teenagers and he was in his 30s.
Moore mentioned the allegations mounting against him and asked: “Why do you think I am being harassed by people pushing forth allegations in last 30 days of this election?”
He also said: “I’m the only one that can unite Democrats and Republicans, because I seem to be opposed by both. They’ve spent over 30 million dollars trying to take me out.”
An increasing number of Republicans are calling for Moore to step aside. In Washington, Republicans are dropping their support for the former Alabama Supreme Court judge, while the Republican National Committee and National Republican Senatorial Committee have pulled their names from the joint fundraising agreement with Moore’s campaign.
Republicans are scrambling as they figure out what to do next, with the Dec. 12 election against Democrat Doug Jones rapidly approaching. The GOP has not not coalesced around the idea of a write-in campaign, while NRSC Chairman Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colorado, has said the Senate should expel Moore if he is elected. Retiring Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Arizona, said Monday that if he were in Alabama, he would “run to the polling place” to vote for the Democrat.
Moore, meanwhile, is not backing down. He has decried the allegations as fake news, and an “inside hit job.”
Moore has denied the allegations, most extensively in a radio interview with conservative host Sean Hannity on Friday, but he has left some aspects of the accusations open for further questioning. When Hannity asked whether Moore would have dated teens when he was in his 30s, Moore said, “No, not generally,” also saying he always asked permission from a girl’s mother before dating her.