Political News

White House aide: 'Give Roy Moore the chance to defend himself'

Posted November 9, 2017 5:33 p.m. EST

— White House legislative director Marc Short said Thursday that if allegations about Senate candidate Roy Moore are proven true, then the White House would withdraw its support.

An explosive Washington Post report released Thursday based on interviews with more than 30 people detailed allegations that the Republican Senate candidate from Alabama pursued sexual relationships with several women when they were between 14 and 18 years old and he was in his 30s, and in one instance had sexual contact with an underage woman.

On CNN's "The Situation Room," Short responded, saying: "They're very serious allegations, and if true, then, yes, there's no path forward."

Hypothetically, if Moore stepped aside, there could be write-in campaigns or avenues available through lawsuits, Short said, "but I don't think we should begin going down that pathway until we give Roy Moore the chance to defend himself."

Moore was Alabama Republicans' choice to replace former Sen. Jeff Sessions, who vacated his Senate seat to become US attorney general, and faces off in a December 12 special election against Democrat Doug Jones.

Republicans in Congress reacted to the Post report by saying that Moore, now 70, should step aside if the allegations are true. Moore denied the allegations, which he called "a desperate political attack by the National Democrat Party and The Washington Post on this campaign."

In the interview Thursday, Short said the allegations are "extremely serious" and noted that President Donald Trump initially supported Sen. Luther Strange in the state's Republican primary to fill the seat left open by Sessions.

But he warned voters to be "cautious" of the decades-old allegations surfacing ahead of the closely watched election in December.

"I think we need to let the facts come out, find out what the truth is and go from there before we jump to conclusions," Short said.

Short said he is sure the voters of Alabama would demand more information and that the information would help settle whether the allegations against Moore are true.