Multiple Republican lawmakers have called on Roy Moore, the Alabama GOP Senate candidate, to step aside following sexual assault allegations.
Moore, a former Alabama state judge, allegedly had sexual contact with teenage girls in the late 1970s and 1980s, the Washington Post reported. Leigh Corfman said Moore had sexual contact with her when she was just 14 and he was 32.
The age of consent in Alabama is 16.
Moore dismissed the allegations as “the most vicious and nasty round of attacks.”
“We are in the midst of a spiritual battle with those who want to silence our message,” Moore said. “The forces of evil will lie, cheat, steal – even inflict physical harm – if they believe it will silence and shut up Christian conservatives like you and me.”
However, multiple Republicans have called on Moore to step aside from the special election in December. And the National Republican Senatorial Committee reportedly severed its fundraising ties with Moore.
The White House
Speaking to reporters on Thursday, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said if the allegations are true, President Trump believes that “Moore will do the right thing and step aside.”
“Like most Americans, the president believes we cannot allow a mere allegation, in this case one from many years ago, to destroy a person’s life,” Sanders said. “However, the president also believes that if these allegations are true, Judge Moore will do the right thing and step aside.”
Vice President Mike Pence, “found the allegations in the story disturbing and believes, if true, this would disqualify anyone from serving in office,” his press secretary, Alyssa Farah, told reporters.
Sen. Mitch McConnell
“If these allegations are true, he must step aside,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said in a statement.
Sen. Cory Gardner
“The allegations against Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore are deeply troubling. If these allegations are found to be true, Roy Moore must drop out of the Alabama special Senate election,” Sen. Cory Gardner, the National Republican Senatorial Committee chairman, said in a statement.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski
“I’m horrified and if it’s true, he should step down immediately,” Murkowski told reporters.
She reportedly also urged Sen. Luther Strange, who was appointed to fill Jeff Sessions’ seat when he was tapped to become attorney general, to launch a write-in campaign. The deadline to take Moore off the ballot has passed.
Sen. Mike Lee
Although he formerly endorsed Moore, Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, has now asked for his image to be removed from any campaign materials.
Sen. Mike Rounds
“If they are true, then he should seriously think about stepping aside,” Sen. Mike Rounds, R-S.D., said.
Sen. John Cornyn
“I find it deeply distrusting and troubling. It’s up to the governor and the folks of Alabama to make that decision as far as what the next steps are,” Majority Whip John Cornyn, R-Texas, said.
Sen. Tim Scott
“If they’re accurate, he absolutely should [step aside],” Tim Scott, of South Carolina, said.
Sen. Susan Collins
“If there is any truth at all to these horrific allegations, Roy Moore should immediately step aside as Senate candidate,” said Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine.
Sen. Steve Daines
“These are very serious allegations and if true he should step down,” said Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont.
Sen. John McCain
“The allegations against Roy Moore are deeply disturbing and disqualifying. He should immediately step aside and allow the people of Alabama to elect a candidate they can be proud of,” Arizona Sen. John McCain said.
Sen. Richard Shelby
“It’s a devastating nasty story,” Alabama Sen. Richard Shelby told reporters. “If it’s true, I don’t believe there’d be a place for him in the U.S. Senate.”
Sen. Jeff Flake
Like other Republicans, Flake called on Moore to “step aside” from the election if the allegations are true.
Sen. Luther Strange
Alabama Sen. Luther Strange, who lost the special election primary to Roy Moore, called the allegations “disturbing.”
He has not yet said if he’ll reenter the race, but told the Associated Press that he is doing “research.” It is too late to take Moore off the ballot, but Strange has been encouraged to launch a write-in campaign.
Sen. Rob Portman
“I think if what we read is true, and people are on the record so I assume it is, then he should step aside,” Ohio Sen. Rob Portman said.
Sen. Ben Sasse
Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., called the Washington Post’s story “heartbreaking.”
The senator also agreed on Twitter with National Review editor Jonah Goldberg who said, “As the father of a 14 year old girl, this ‘What’s the big deal?’ crap enrages me.”
Sen. Ted Cruz
“These are serious and troubling allegations,” Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who previously endorsed Moore, said in a statement. “If they are true, Judge Moore should immediately withdraw. However, we need to know the truth, and Judge Moore has the right to respond to these accusations.”
Rep. Paul Ryan
House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., said in a statement that if the allegations are true, they would disqualify Moore from the special election in December.
“These allegations are disqualifying if true. Anyone who would do this to a child has no place in public office, let alone the United States Senate,” Ryan said in a statement.
Rep. Peter King
“I would say unless he can prove his innocence, the burden is now on him within the next day or so, I believe he has to step down. He owes it to himself, he owes it to the state and and he owes it to the U.S. Senate,” New York Rep. Peter King said on MSNBC
Gov. John Kasich
Ohio Gov. John Kasich said on Twitter that he’s “long opposed” Moore and called on him to step aside from the race as well.
“I’ve long opposed Roy Moore [and] his divisive viewpoints. The actions described make him unfit for office. The GOP must not support him. He should step aside,” Kasich said.
Former Gov. Mitt Romney
Mitt Romney, the 2012 Republican presidential nominee, slammed Moore on Twitter.
“Innocent until proven guilty is for criminal convictions, not elections. I believe Leigh Corfman,” the former governor said. “Her account is too serous to ignore. Moore is unfit for office and should step aside.”