Alabama voters are getting a recorded phone call of President Donald Trump saying he needs Republican Roy Moore in the U.S. Senate. The recording includes Trump saying progress on his agenda will be “stopped cold” Democrat Doug Jones is elected. (Dec. 11)
WASHINGTON â€”Â President Trump is “on trial” in Roy Moore’s campaign for the U.S. Senate in Alabama, the Republican candidate’s top political strategist said Sunday.
Two days before voters go to the polls, GOP strategist Dean Young said Trump’s endorsement of the former Alabama Supreme Court chief justice despite sexual harassment and assault allegations has made the election “ground zero” for the president.
â€œThis is President Trump’sÂ agenda, and thatâ€™s why it’s so important that Judge Moore wins this race,” Young said on ABC’s This Week. “If they can beat him, they can beat his agenda.”
Moore’s campaign against Democrat Doug Jones in a state that voted overwhelmingly for the president last November dominated the network and cable news shows Sunday. Most of those interviewed, including fellow Republican Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama, stuck by their denunciations of Moore over his alleged involvement with girls as young as 14.
“So many accusations, so many cuts, so many drip, drip, drip,” Shelby said of the allegations against Moore. “When it got to the 14-year-oldâ€™s story, that was enough for me.â€
Moore sat for aÂ rare interview Sunday with “The Voice of Alabama Politics”Â reporter Bill Britt and once again denied the women’s stories.
“I did not know any of the womenÂ who have charged me with sexual allegations of molestation,” he said.Â “These allegations are completely false. I did not date underage women. I did not molest anyone.”
Trump gave the 70-year-old insurgent candidate a full-throated endorsement Friday night during a rally across the border in Pensacola, Fla. And Politico reported the president was set to record a robocall for Moore to be used on the eve of the election.
Republicans are deeply divided over the prospectÂ of helping and seating Moore, a controversial figure in state and national politics because of his deeply conservative views on subjects ranging from abortion and Muslims to homosexuality andÂ same-sex marriage.Â
He was twice elected chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court but was removed both times â€”Â first for refusing to remove a monument of the Ten Commandments and later for directing probate judges toÂ enforce the state’s ban onÂ same-sex marriage after it was deemed unconstitutional.
After The Washington Post reported last month that four women said Moore pursued and in some cases sexually harassed or assaulted them as teen-agers in the 1970s, when he was in his early 30s, national Republican leaders called on him to leave the race. Several other women have made allegations againstÂ Moore since then. He has denied all the charges.
Trump refused to join the chorus against Moore and ultimately urged Alabama voters to elect him during Friday’s rally in Florida.Â That makes the election not only a referendum on Moore and sexual harassment but on the president and his agenda.
“This is Donald Trump on trial in Alabama,” Moore’s strategist said.
Rep. Terri Sewell, the only Democrat in the state’s Washington delegation, went further. â€œThis election is really about the soul of this nation,â€ she said on ABC.
While Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell has backed off his anti-Moore rhetoric and now says it’s up to Alabama’s voters, other Republicans made clear Sunday they still oppose Moore. Shelby, who voted absentee, said on CNN’s State of the UnionÂ thatÂ he wrote in the name of a “distinguished Republican.”Â
â€œThere are a number of people in the party who are not supporting Roy Moore,â€ Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., said on NBC’s Meet the Press.Â â€œThe allegations (of sexual harassment)Â are significantly stronger than the denials.â€
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