Donald Trump fully endorsed Roy Moore, the Alabama Senate candidate accused of molesting a 14-year-old girl and assaulting a 16-year-old girl, finally vocalizing what he had seemingly only just resisted doing in previous weeks.
On Twitter early Monday morning, Trump tweeted that “we need Republican Roy Moore to win in Alabama.”
Trump had previously danced around supporting Moore directly on Nov. 26 by instead blasting his opponent, Doug Jones, as a “Schumer/Pelosi puppet” who was “the last thing we need in Alabama.”
Not long after, in what appeared to be an effort to distance himself from Moore without actually unendorsing him, he stood by his statement that Alabamians should not vote for a Democrat but reminded his followers he supported Luther Strange in the Republican primary.
Five days before those half-endorsements, he told reporters, “I can tell you one thing for sure: We don’t need a liberal person in there, a Democrat.” He added, “We do not need somebody that’s going to be bad on crime, bad on borders, bad with the military, bad for the Second Amendment.” And in response to questions about the sexual misconduct allegations, Trump said, “Roy Moore denies it; that’s all I can say.”
Trump’s previous partial endorsements came a week or two after the latest round of allegations against Moore, which included new accusers and reporting that found he was known to cruise his local mall in his 30s looking to flirt with high school girls.
Since those accusations came to light, Moore has seemed to at least partially follow Trump’s playbook in dealing with sexual misconduct allegations, denying the accusations and proclaiming himself the target of a liberal conspiracy (spearheaded by liberals, “lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered who want to change our culture,” he told an Alabama crowd Wednesday)—a belief more than 60 percent of Alabama Republicans appear to share, according to a CBS poll. Moore has also threatened lawsuits (against the Washington Post and Alabama media; Trump threatened lawsuits against his accusers) and attempted to discredit the women.
In response to Trump’s full endorsement Monday, Roy Moore promised “to help him #DrainTheSwamp.” The election takes place Dec. 12.