Arizona Senator Jeff Flake was overheard saying to Mesa Mayor John Gileson on a hot mic on Saturday that “[If we] become the party of Roy Moore and Donald Trump, we are toast.” Flake, on hot mic, says GOP will be “toast” if it’s the party of Trump and Moore.
Sunday evening, Mr. Trump took to Twitter to call the senator “Flake(y)” and lambasted him for “saying bad things about your favorite President.”
After multiple women came forward accusing Moore of inappropriately pursuing or sexually touching them when they were teens, Flake said he would “run to the polling place to vote for the Democrat” if he was an Alabama voter.
The accusations against Moore have put the White House in a difficult situation politically, as at least 16 women have accused Mr. Trump of President Trump and accusations of sexual misconduct: The complete list.]. [UPDATE: Meg Kelly at the Washington Post breaks down
Mr. Trump has yet to personally address the accusations against Moore, although White House press secretary Sarah Sanders has said he believes Moore will do the “right thing” and step aside “if” the allegations are true. Sanders hasabout the president’s own accusers.
That was until Monday, when White House counselor Kellyanne Conway went on FOX & Friends (aka Trump TV) to signal that the Trump White House was now going all-in in its support of this serial child sexual predator because Moore is a member of the GOP tribe. Kellyanne Conway on Roy Moore’s candidacy: “We want the votes in the Senate” for tax bill:
During an interview in which White House counselor Kellyanne Conway was attacking Alabama Democratic Senate candidate Doug Jones, she was asked by Fox News’ “Fox & Friends” whether she was saying Alabamans should vote for Moore.
“Folks, don’t be fooled. He’ll be a vote against tax cuts. He is weak on crime. Weak on borders. He’s strong on raising your taxes. He is terrible for property owners,” Conway told Fox & Friends. “And Doug Jones is a doctrinaire liberal, which is why he’s not saying anything and why the media are trying to boost him.”
Co-host Brian Kilmeade [appearing bewildered] asked her, “So, vote Roy Moore?”
“I’m telling you, we want the votes in the Senate to get this tax bill through.”
Kilmeade continued to press Conway. “But the RNC has withdrawn support for Roy Moore, Mitch McConnell has withdrawn support,” and so have the Young Republicans and many women, the hosts told her.
Note: The previous week, Conway had told Fox & Friends that “the incontrovertible principle is that no Senate seat is worth more than a child, and we all want to put that forward. I have three daughters and a son, frankly, and we are all watching this.” So she has opted to sell her soul to the devil.
Asked by co-host Steve Doocy if the president would return to Alabama to campaign for Moore, she replied, “There’s no plan to do that.”
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders echoed Conway’s sentiment, when she was asked Monday whether the White House would be pleased if Roy Moore wins over Democrat Doug Jones.
“The president wants people both in the House and the Senate that support his agenda,” she told reporters at the White House briefing.
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President Trump was also asked during a Cabinet meeting Monday whether he believed Roy Moore’s accusers, but he ignored the question. He has not yet spoken about the accusations against Moore.
That was until Tuesday.
Senator Jeff Flake’s prescient warning that the GOP has become a party that is OK with even serial child sexual predators so long as they are members of the GOP tribe was realized on Tuesday when the “Pussy-grabber”-in-chief, serial sexual predator Donald Trump, announced that he is all-in in his support of Roy Moore. Trump offers support for Roy Moore in Alabama’s Senate race despite misconduct allegations. Echoing Kellyanne Conway:
President Trump on Tuesday appeared to offer support to Republican candidate Roy Moore in Alabama’s U.S. Senate race, saying the former state judge “totally denies” allegations of sexual misconduct against underage girls years ago.
“He denies it,” Trump told reporters at the White House. “He says it didn’t happen, and you have to listen to him, also.”
Trump criticized Moore’s opponent, Democrat Doug Jones, as being “terrible on crime, terrible on borders.”
“We don’t need a liberal person in there, a Democrat,” Trump added.
Trump’s remarks came as Moore has faced mounting pressure from Republicans, as well as Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, who said “There’s a special place in hell for people who prey on children,” to the Associated Press last week. “I’ve yet to see a valid explanation, and I have no reason to doubt the victims’ accounts.”
But President Trump said Tuesday that the accusations against Moore concern events that took place “40 years ago” and noted that the candidate has insisted “this did not happen.” Asked whether he would actively campaign for Moore, Trump said he would let reporters know next week.
Roy Moore is following the Donald Trump playbook: deny, deflect and attack your accusers of being liars. Women are not to be believed, even when they go on the record and open themselves up to further abuse from Donald Trump and his “Deplorables” supporters. Members of the GOP tribe can do no wrong.
There is no bottom to how low the GOP will go in the age of Trump. It is a party that is intellectually and morally bankrupt. It is now just pure GOP tribalism.
GOP strategist Steve Schmidt is one of the few old-school Republicans who has not sold his soul to the personality cult of Trumpism. GOP strategist: ‘There needs to be a repudiation’ of Roy Moore by Republicans:
GOP strategist Steve Schmidt on Friday sounded off on allegations that Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore (R) engaged in sexual misconduct with an underage girl, saying there needs to be a “repudiation” of Moore.
“I don’t have the words to express my shame,” Schmidt said during an appearance on MSNBC’s “All in with Chris Hayes.” “It’s disgraceful.”
“What we’re talking about here, Chris, is a 14-year-old little girl. Roy Moore is a pedophile. He’s a child molester,” Schmidt said.
“There needs to be a repudiation, not just a rescission of an endorsement,” Schmidt said. “He should be called on to get out of the race.”
“Shame on Mitch McConnell, shame on Paul Ryan for not speaking out, not doing the right thing here,” he continued. “Shame on them.”
Steve Schmidt followed up on MSNBC’s “All in with Chris Hayes after Trump’s endorsement of Roy Moore on Tuesday.
“It’s a tragic day for the Republican Party.” “I just think the line is drawn, the die are cast, the forces of decency are against the forces of indecency.” “This exposes a profound moral rot in the country, in the Republican Party, a great test for the citizens of Alabama.” “We have reached the hour that George Washington warned us about [in his Farewell Address], a political tribalism that is so corrosive, so corrupting, that it can take otherwise normal decent people that you would encounter on any given day and make them defend the indefensible and the profoundly indecent.”
(Just look at what our Trump trolls have been posting in the comments).
The big new finding from a Quinnipiac University poll is this: About half of Republicans say GOP senators should let Roy Moore serve in the Senate. By a margin of 49 percent to 33 percent, Republicans say the Alabamian, who is accused of sexual misconduct with multiple teenagers, should not be expelled if he wins next month’s special election, as some Senate Republicans have threatened to do.
But that’s hardly the only finding in the poll that suggests the GOP has taken a softer view toward sexual harassment.
The poll also shows sexual harassment isn’t a dealbreaker for Republicans when it comes to President Trump. And it’s not even that they just doubt the accusations against Trump (which has been the case ever since nearly a dozen women came forward at the end of the last election). The poll shows Republicans also oppose trying to remove Trump from office even if it was proved that he sexually harassed the women who have accused him. By a margin of 63 percent to 28 percent, Republicans say Trump should not be impeached even if we know for a fact that he sexually harassed women.
More generally speaking, Republicans are also less likely to say alleged sexual harassment is a dealbreaker when voting for a candidate. The poll asked that if a candidate faced multiple sexual harassment allegations, whether people would “still consider voting for them if you agreed with them on the issues.” A plurality of Republican, 43 percent, say they would, while 41 percent say they definitely would not.
By contrast, Democrats say they definitely would not vote for such a candidate, by a margin of 81 percent to 12 percent, and independents say they definitely wouldn’t 2-to-1.
Here’s the thing, though: The vast majority of Republicans already did vote for such a candidate in Trump. So most of those 41 percent of Republicans who say they wouldn’t consider such a candidate are kidding themselves or have suddenly changed their view. (I’d bet the house it’s the former.) And the 81 percent of Democrats who say they wouldn’t support such a candidate must contain a fair amount of converts from the 1990s, when Democrats overwhelmingly supported Bill Clinton for president despite accusations against him.
Mostly, then, the poll is useful as a barometer of where the two party’s stand on the interplay between sexual harassment allegations and politics. And on that question, Republicans clearly don’t seem to have as much of a litmus test.
[I]t’s one thing to doubt these specific accusations; it’s another to say that such accusations don’t matter as much as the issues or partisanship. And it’s entirely another to say that you still think Trump should be president even if he did sexually harass women. That relegates sexual harassment to a pretty negligible part of the political calculus.
As long as Republicans are winning elections, their voters seem to be saying, that’s enough of a judgment for them. And that’s a big problem for party leaders who seem to want to turn the page on the Roy Moore chapter of their party’s existence.