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After a More Restrained Tweet, Trump Says He Thought Moore Wouldn’t Win Anyway

MONTGOMERY, AL - DECEMBER 12:  Republican Senatorial candidate Roy Moore waits to be introduced to speak about the race against his Democratic opponent Doug Jones is too close and there will be a recount during his election night party in the RSA Activity Center on December 12, 2017 in Montgomery, Alabama. The candidates are running in a special election to replace Attorney General Jeff Sessions in the U.S. Senate.  (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Roy Moore waits to speak at his election night party in Montgomery, Alabama, after the race was called for his Democratic opponent, Doug Jones.
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

After Doug Jones’ stunning victory over Republican Roy Moore in the Alabama Senate special election Wednesday, President Trump, who had openly supported Moore despite the accusations of sexual misconduct with teenagers against him, tweeted out what some considered a surprisingly restrained congratulatory message to Jones:

For his part, Roy Moore refused to concede the election Tuesday night, holding onto the hope that the margin of victory would fall to below 0.5 percent, triggering a recount. In comparison, Trump’s acknowledgement that “a win is a win” seemed to show the president was dealing with the outcome fairly well.

But on Wednesday morning, a tweet more in the president’s traditional style appeared.

Trump had originally endorsed Strange to fill Jeff Sessions’ vacant Senate seat, as he was considered the more traditional Republican and therefore more reliable vote. When Moore upset Strange in a runoff to claim the Republican nomination, Trump urged Alabamians to vote for him in the primary but then became quiet on the topic after the sexual misconduct allegations against Moore surfaced. In December, Trump came out again in full support of Moore and exhorted voters to reject “Pelosi/Schumer Puppet” Jones. He also sent the message at a rally in Pensacola, Florida, near the Alabama border.

There have been many ways to look at the Alabama Senate election, but a sizable number of analysts have considered it in part a referendum on Trump. In arguably the reddest state in the country, both of Trump’s candidates lost—his second to the first Democrat to represent the state in 25 years.

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