How Senate Republicans Have Reacted to the Roy Moore Allegations (NYT)

How Senate Republicans Have Reacted to the Roy Moore Allegations

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A fifth senator, Bob Corker of Tennessee, wrote that Mr. Moore should never have been nominated to begin with.

‘If true …’

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Senator John Cornyn of Texas, the majority whip, said that Mr. Moore’s candidacy would be unsustainable if the allegations were true, but that “we believe in a presumption of innocence until proven guilty.”

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Gabriella Demczuk for The New York Times

By far the most common reaction has been a call for Mr. Moore to step aside if the allegations are true. Thirty-one senators have said this, though none have explained what criteria they would use to judge the truth of the accusations.

If the allegations are true, “I don’t think this candidacy is sustainable,” John Cornyn of Texas said, “but we believe in a presumption of innocence until proven guilty, and so I think it’s important for the facts to come out.” Texas’ other senator, Ted Cruz, called the reports “serious and troubling” but added, “Judge Moore has the right to respond.”

Lamar Alexander, John Barrasso, Michael B. Enzi, Joni Ernst, Cory Gardner, Orrin G. Hatch, John Hoeven, James M. Inhofe, Ron Johnson, James Lankford, Mitch McConnell, Jerry Moran, Lisa Murkowski, David Perdue, Jim Risch, Pat Roberts, Mike Rounds, Marco Rubio, Richard C. Shelby, Dan Sullivan, John Thune and Thom Tillis also made “if true” statements.

Others, though they included the caveat, seemed more inclined to jettison Mr. Moore. Jeff Flake of Arizona said Mr. Moore should step aside “if there is any shred of truth to the allegations,” and Susan Collins of Maine and Ben Sasse of Nebraska spoke similarly. Patrick J. Toomey of Pennsylvania and Tim Scott of South Carolina said they found the accusations more believable than Mr. Moore’s denials; Rob Portman of Ohio said he assumed they were true because the women making them were on the record. And Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said Mr. Moore “should be dealt with very severely” if he behaved as reported.

“Any person who believes these allegations are not that bad,” Mr. Graham told ABC’s affiliate in Columbia, S.C., “I don’t want them to be a part of the Republican Party.”

‘Start thinking about who they’ll write in’

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Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska said she had spoken with Luther Strange, Mr. Moore’s Republican primary opponent, about a write-in campaign.

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Michael Reynolds/European Pressphoto Agency

It is too late to replace Mr. Moore on the ballot, but Ms. Murkowski, Mr. Sasse and Mr. Toomey have floated the idea of a write-in campaign — perhaps by Luther Strange, who holds the seat Mr. Moore is seeking but lost the Republican primary. (Last week Mr. Strange called the report “very, very disturbing” and said he would later have “something to say” about whether he would re-enter the race.)

“If there’s an ounce of truth to any of this, Roy Moore has no place in public life and ought to drop out immediately,” Mr. Sasse said. “Alabamians should start thinking about who they’ll write in.”

Ms. Murkowski, who won a write-in campaign herself after losing a primary in 2010, told Politico on Thursday that she had spoken with Mr. Strange, who told reporters he was researching his options.

But “a write-in is very difficult, let’s face it,” Mr. Toomey acknowledged. “There’s no easy solution to this.”

‘They’re very, very old charges’

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Senator Roger Wicker of Mississippi questioned the allegations, calling them “very, very old” and asking why the women did not come forward sooner.

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Al Drago for The New York Times

Only one senator, Roger Wicker of Mississippi, explicitly declined to suggest that Mr. Moore step down, even with the “if true” caveat. Why, he asked, didn’t the women who spoke to The Post come forward earlier?

“They’re very, very old charges,” Mr. Wicker told Mississippi News Now. “You have to ask, and I think people in Alabama will be asking, why this hasn’t come out in the 40 years’ time with him running for so many offices.”

Fourteen senators — Roy Blunt, John Boozman, Richard M. Burr, Shelley Moore Capito, Thad Cochran, Tom Cotton, Michael D. Crapo, Deb Fischer, Charles E. Grassley, Dean Heller, Johnny Isakson, John Kennedy, Rand Paul and Todd Young — have not responded publicly to the allegations. But Mr. Blunt is no longer attending a fund-raiser for Mr. Moore on Friday.

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November 13, 2017 at 06:51AM