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.
One more thing
You depend on Slate for sharp, distinctive coverage of the latest developments in politics and culture. Now we need to ask for your support.
Our work is more urgent than ever and is reaching more readers—but online advertising revenues don’t fully cover our costs, and we don’t have print subscribers to help keep us afloat. So we need your help. If you think Slate’s work matters, become a Slate Plus member. You’ll get exclusive members-only content and a suite of great benefits—and you’ll help secure Slate’s future.