Attempting to rally his evangelical voter base, Senate candidate Roy Moore appealed to conservative religious values amidst sexual harassment allegations.
- In a speech on Sunday, Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore urged the United States to return to Christian religious values
- Allegations of sexual misconduct on Moore’s part have surfaced, as four women have accused the candidate of making sexual advances on them when they were teenagers and he was in his 30s
- Moore has twice been removed from his seat as chief justice of Alabama’s Supreme Court
In what was most likely an attempt to rally his voter base, Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore of Alabama has sought to appeal to conservative religious values.
Moore’s attempt to refocus the political discussion onto Christian ideals came as the candidate weathered what was the fourth day in a national storm brought on by allegations against him of sexual assault.
Four women have accused the former judge of pursuing relationships of a romantic or sexual nature with them when they were teenagers and Moore was in his 30s. One woman, Leigh Corman, said she was just 14 when Moore made sexual advances to her.
In a meeting on Sunday night at the Huntsville Christian Academy in Alabama, Moore claimed he was in the process of investigating the accusations.
‘We’ve still got investigations going on. We’re still finding out a lot we didn’t know’, he said.
"I can tell you without hesitation, this is absolutely false. I never did what she said I did. I don't even know the woman," said Alabama GOP Senate nominee Roy Moore, who was responding to Beverly Young Nelson's allegations of sexual assault. pic.twitter.com/23DUsuvYkW
— CBS News (@CBSNews) November 14, 2017
It was his second public event since reports surfaced regarding allegations of his sexual misconduct.
Moore exhorted the United States to revive its culture by going ‘back to God’.
‘We can be proud of where we came from and where we’re going if we go back to God. If we go back to God, we can be unified again.’
His Sunday remarks received a standing ovation.
Moore has twice been removed from his position as chief justice of Alabama’s Supreme Court due to his religious beliefs. In 2003, he was relieved of office for refusing to remove a monument of the Ten Commandments from a state judicial building. In 2016, he was suspended for refusing to uphold the Supreme Court’s decision on same-sex marriage.
Far-right news and commentary website Breitbart News lent its support to the candidate, sending employees to Alabama to investigate Moore’s accusers.
Stephen K. Bannon, Breitbart’s chairman and former adviser to President Trump, backed Moore’s candidacy and claimed that accusers are trying to ‘destroy [Moore’s] life.’
Moore suggested the accusations were a conspiracy by Democrats, the media, and establishment Republicans to keep him out of office, saying there are ‘groups that don’t want [him] in the United States Senate.’
Moore’s senior campaign adviser Brett Doster said his candidate would not back down in the face of these accusations. Other campaign officials insisted that the allegations were ‘leaked by political opponents.’
The allegations could damage his campaign, although recent polls indicate that nearly 40 percent of Evangelical Christians in Alabama are more likely to vote for Moore following the allegations, echoing last year’s presidential election, when 80 percent of evangelicals voted for Trump despite the accusations of sexual misconduct levelled against him.
In Washington, support for Moore’s campaign to take up the position vacated by Attorney General Jeff Sessions has continued to wane. Multiple Republican senators have withdrawn their endorsements of Moore or otherwise expressed disapproval with his candidacy.
Under Alabama law, Moore cannot be removed from the ballot at this late point in the election. The state GOP, however, can petition to disqualify him, in which case votes for him would not be counted.
Responses to the situation varied among Trump administration representatives. White House adviser Kellyanne Conway declined to indicate whether she believed the allegations or not, saying that ‘both sides are alleging different things.’
Conway went on to clarify that if ‘allegations are true, [Moore] should step aside.’
Marc Short, White House director of legislative affairs, encouraged a skeptical approach to ‘allegations that are 40 years old’ and ‘that arise a month before Election Day.’
President Trump recently told reporters traveling with him in Asia that he has not ‘seen very much about him, about it.’
Sarah Huckabee Sanders, White House press secretary, has issued a statement saying that the president ‘believes that if these allegations are true, Judge Moore will do the right thing and step aside,’ adding that ‘a mere allegation’ should not ‘destroy a person’s life.’
Allegations against Moore came in the context of a series of revelations regarding the sexual misconduct of numerous high profile individuals, including Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, and members of parliament at Westminster.