McConnell and Fellow GOP Senators Respond to Moore's Sexual Assault Allegations

A growing chorus of Senate Republicans including Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) have called on Senate candidate Roy Moore to withdraw from a special election in Alabama if allegations prove true that the former judge initiated a sexual encounter with a 14-year-old girl nearly four decades ago.

“If these allegations are true, he must step aside,” McConnell said in a formal statement on behalf of all Republican senators.

Other Republican senators weighing in included Jeff Flake of Arizona, David Perdue of Georgia, John Thune of South Dakota, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Cory Gardner of Colorado, Richard C. Shelby of Alabama and Patrick J. Toomey of Pennsylvania. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) called on Moore to step aside as well — and without couching his statement with “if true” language.

“The allegations against Roy Moore are deeply disturbing and disqualifying,” McCain said. “He should immediately step aside and allow the people of Alabama to elect a candidate they can be proud of.”

Moore has denied the allegations and given no indication that he will exit the race. “He has told me that it is absolutely false, and he is working on his campaign,” said Dean Young, a longtime friend and adviser to Moore, who has spoken to him since the allegations surfaced. “You all do what you are going to do, and we are going to stand in Alabama and fight for what is right and what is just.”

The state Republican Party has the power to disqualify Moore from the election, though it is too late to remove his name from the ballot, according to the Alabama secretary of state. McConnell and other Republicans will face the challenge of figuring out what candidate would run in Moore’s place — and how to win an election in which it is too late to replace the former judge’s name on the Dec. 12 ballot.