Update: Since making his comments to Politico, Grassley has called for Moore to end his campaign.
Original post: After Roy Moore, the controversial former chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, defeated Trump-backed incumbent Luther Strange in a special primary runoff for the US Senate on Tuesday, Politico started asking sitting senators what they thought of Moore, a radical theocrat who was twice removed from the state’s supreme court, first for refusing to take down a statue of the Ten Commandments from a courthouse and later for violating the law by refusing to grant same-sex marriages.
Moore’s efforts to fight the removal of the Ten Commandments from the courthouse received widespread national attention. So have many of his other extreme views, including his belief homosexuality should be illegal, false claim that there are communities in the US ruled by Sharia law, suggestion that 9/11 happened because Americans “distanced ourselves from God,” embrace of the birther conspiracy theory, and belief that Minnesota Congressman Keith Ellison should not be allowed to hold public office because he’s a Muslim.
These views, combined with Moore’s high-profile primary battle against Strange — a colleague of Sen. Chuck Grassley — make it highly unlikely that Grassley and other US senators don’t know exactly who Moore is. Yet, speaking to Politico, Grassley pleaded ignorance. “I don’t know anything about Roy Moore,” he said. “If I’ve read anything he’s said, I wouldn’t have any recollection of it.”
Grassley’s dubious claim adds to a growing list of instances he’s refused to take a stand against the increasing radicalization of his party. He backed Trump throughout his presidential campaign, dodging a question about whether he’d stop supporting him after his “grab them by the pussy” comments came to light, and in his role as Senate judiciary chairman defended now-Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ history of racist opposition to civil rights.