President Trump gave his full backing Monday to Alabama Republican Senate nominee Roy Moore, telling voters “we need” him to tackle illegal immigration, tax reform and more — in his strongest statement yet in support of the embattled candidate.
With just one week left before voters head to the polls next Tuesday, the president tweeted that “we need” Moore, slamming his Democratic counterpart Doug Jones as a “puppet” for congressional Democratic leaders.
“Democrats refusal to give even one vote for massive Tax Cuts is why we need Republican Roy Moore to win in Alabama,” Trump tweeted. “We need his vote on stopping crime, illegal immigration, Border Wall, Military, Pro Life, V.A., Judges, 2nd Amendment and more. No to Jones, a Pelosi/ Schumer Puppet!”
Until now, Trump has kept a certain distance from Moore while making clear he opposes Jones — and refraining from condemning Moore in the same way some Senate Republicans have. Those GOP lawmakers have sought to ostracize Moore over explosive allegations he initiated sexual contact with teenage women decades ago, when he was an assistant district attorney in his early 30s. One of the women, Leigh Corfman, alleged Moore had sexual contact with her when she was just 14. The age of consent in Alabama is 16.
Moore has repeatedly denied the allegations.
Trump has been relatively mum on the allegations facing Moore, with White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders saying it’s a decision for Alabama voters.
Trump, though, ramped up his defense of Moore during a session with reporters last month.
“Roy Moore says he didn’t do it,” Trump said on his way to Marine One.
Trump’s apparent endorsement of Moore Monday morning seems to be driven by legislative items and his desire to keep the majority in the Senate.
Minutes after his tweet supporting Moore, Trump elaborated on the threat Jones would pose to the GOP agenda.
“Putting Pelosi/ Schumer Liberal Puppet Jones into office in Alabama would hurt our great Republican Agenda of low on taxes, tough on crime, strong on military and borders…& so much more,” Trump tweeted. “Look at your 401-k’s since Election. Highest Stock Market EVER! Jobs are roaring back!”
The Senate passed the Republican tax plan late Friday night, with a 51-vote majority. Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., was the lone Republican to vote against the bill, joining the 48 Senate Democrats who voted nay.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has been tough on Moore, saying last month he’s “not fit” to be in the Senate and claiming party leaders were looking at ways to “prevent that from happening.”
But McConnell has seemingly softened his tone.
“I’m going to let the people of Alabama make the call,” McConnell, R-Ky., said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week,” in an apparent shift from his earlier comments.
Moore, on the other hand, continues to bash McConnell and the Republican establishment.
The special election to fill the Senate seat of Trump’s Attorney General Jeff Sessions is Dec. 12.