The number of Roy Moore’s accusers in Alabama went up yesterday, when the Washington Post published a new report on Debbie Wesson Gibson, who dated the right-wing Republican when she was 17 and he was 34. The article highlighted a written note she received from Moore upon her high-school graduation, and the handwriting appears to be quite similar to the inscription in one of his other accuser’s yearbooks.
The new report not only reinforces allegations that Moore pursued teenagers while he was an adult, it also undermines the Senate candidate’s denials about his conduct.
It’s against this backdrop that Republicans have decided to give Roy Moore’s Senate candidacy a new round of support.
The Republican National Committee resumed supporting Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore on Monday after President Donald Trump earlier endorsed Moore, a Republican official said.
The RNC dropped out of a joint fundraising agreement with Moore three weeks ago as Moore was hit with multiple accusations of sexual misconduct with teenage girls decades ago. NBC News reported at the time that it had also ended its field operations in the state, where it deployed 11 operatives.
Now, however, the Republican establishment has reversed course, deciding Moore deserves the party’s support after all.
What changed? By all appearances, now that Donald Trump officially supports the accused child molester, Trump’s party has decided to support him, too.
As we discussed yesterday, there’s been an evolution in Trump World’s thinking on the subject. As recently as Nov. 10 – hardly ancient history – White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in reference to the allegations surrounding Moore that the president “believes that if these allegations are true, Judge Moore will do the right thing and step aside.”
On Nov. 15, Ivanka Trump, a prominent White House aide and presidential daughter, said in apparent reference to Moore, “There’s a special place in hell for people who prey on children.”
On Nov. 19, White House Legislative Affairs Director Marc Short added that Trump does, in fact, believe Moore’s accusers.
But on Nov. 21, the shift began. The president suggested on camera that he believed Moore’s denials. Yesterday, Trump has abandoned any sense of pretense, throwing support behind Moore at least in part because Democrats opposed his regressive and unpopular tax breaks.
A White House spokesperson said in a press statement yesterday, “The president had a positive call with Judge Roy Moore during which they discussed the state of the Alabama Senate race and the president endorsed Judge Moore’s campaign.”
Trump’s backing evidently led to the RNC’s backing, Moore’s newest accuser notwithstanding.