Steve King Dismisses Roy Moore Molestation Response from Senators Who Won’t “Help Move Trump Agenda”

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Congressman Steve King responded to a bombshell report Thursday in the Washington Post that Alabama senate candidate Roy Moore molested a 14-year-old girl when he was 32 by suggesting it was a politically motivated attack, citing a Breitbart article that quoted anti-Trump Republicans calling for Moore to exit the race before the Dec. 12 special election.

“Judge Roy Moore told to withdraw by Senators who won’t or can’t help move Trump agenda,” King tweeted about the allegation that Moore, the notorious religious zealot who has called for the criminalization of homosexuality and was twice removed from the Alabama Supreme Court for flouting the law in the name of religious liberty, molested a girl he met outside a child custody hearing when he was an assistant district attorney. According to the report, Moore later drove the girl to his home and stripped them both to their underwear, then touched her over her bra and panties and “guided her hand to touch him over his underwear.”

Three other women described relationships they had with an adult Moore when they were teenagers, two of them underage at the time, in which sexual relations didn’t go beyond kissing.

“This garbage is the very definition of fake news,” Moore responded, echoing President Trump. GOP officials across Alabama were similarly dismissive of the explosive allegations, some going as far as to suggest that it was normal for a man in his thirties to ask a 16-year-old out on a date or saying they’d vote for him even if the molestation allegation were proven true. Trump supported Moore’s rival, Sen. Luther Strange, in the primary but later endorsed Moore.

The GOP senators at odds with Trump who were quoted in the Breitbart article tweeted by King included Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake, Maine Sen. Susan Collins, and Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski. All of them have called for Moore to end his Senate bid if the allegations are true (as has Vice President Mike Pence, who remains loyal to Trump). If he does, the Alabama GOP would not have time to add another candidate to the ballot.

Prior to the news of the allegations, Moore had a comfortable lead in most polls against his Democratic opponent, Doug Jones, an accomplished civil rights attorney who’s sparred with white supremacists and prosecuted members of the Ku Klux Klan.

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Gavin Aronsen is an editor and reporter for and founding member of the Iowa Informer. He previously worked as a city reporter for the Ames Tribune, research assistant to investigative journalist Wayne Barrett at the Village Voice, and in various roles at Mother Jones, where his work contributed to a National Magazine Award nomination for the magazine's digital media coverage of the Occupy Wall Street movement. Email: garonsen [at] iowainformer [dot] com.