Top Story: Sexual Misconduct Allegations Surface Against GOP Senate Candidate Moore

On Thursday the Washington Post reported that Roy Moore, who recently won the Republican nomination to the special Alabama Senate election to replace Jeff Sessions, has a disturbing history of relationships with young women. The article describes Post interviews with four women who dated Moore when they were 14, 16, 17, and 18 and he was in his early thirties. The youngest, Leigh Corfman, told the Post that Moore had inappropriate sexual contact with her on a date in 1979, when she was 14 and he was 32. Moore has denied the allegations.

Roy Moore was already controversial before these accusations surfaced. A former Chief Justice on the Alabama State Supreme Court who left that office twice–once for refusing to take down a monument to the 10 Commandments, the second time for refusing to honor the legalization of same sex marriage–Moore has consistently said bigoted things and offered flagrantly unconstitutional opinions. These include describing certain races as “reds and yellows,” claiming that President Obama was not born in the United States, claiming that some American communities exist under Sharia law, asserting that 9/11 was the result of God’s anger at the country having legal abortion and legal sodomy, and arguing that Rep. Keith Ellison should have been barred from Congress due to Ellison’s Muslim religion. In short, Moore is one of the country’s most Trumpian figures in politics–and with the addition of these new allegations of sexual misconduct and a pattern of interest in young women, resembles the president now more than ever.

Reaction from the GOP has been mixed. Party leadership in Congress, who have previously supported Moore’s candidacy despite statements like those detailed above, has tended to side either with Mitch McConnell, who called for Moore to step down as candidate if the allegations are true, or with John McCain, who left out the “if true” part. Reactions from local Republican party officials in Alabama, where the age of consent is only 16, have been more varied. This tweet thread from Toronto Star reporter Daniel Dale shows Alabama GOP officials dismissing the allegations, engaging in apologetics, or in one shocking instance, simply acknowledging that Moore’s party affiliation matters more than any behavior, no matter how inappropriate or wrong:

It remains to be seen whether the party that annointed Donald Trump even after his many alleged victims came forward in the wake of the Access Hollywood tape, in which Trump bragged about sexual assault, will end up supporting or repudiating Moore for similar acts. By accepting one abuser, the “party of personal responsibility” may end up unable to avoid treating this one the same way, with cowed deference to indefensible immorality in exchange for political power. Like fish, political parties rot from the head down. Torchlight endorses Democratic candidate Doug Jones for the Alabama Senate seat.

Update 10:34 AM: This article was incorrectly attributed to Tom Rich. We have updated the byline to the correct author, Josh Kyu Saiewitz.