Roy Moore Gets Trump Endorsement and R.N.C. Funding for Senate Race


“No vote, no majority is worth losing our honor, our integrity,” Mr. Romney wrote on Twitter.

Although Mr. Moore appeared to be regaining important support in his party, some of his accusers pushed back at recent remarks in which he said he did not even know them, let alone behave inappropriately.

It is not clear whether the back-and-forth will do anything to change the contours of the race, which is especially close by the standards of a state where Republicans tend to rout their rivals, but many party officials believe that Mr. Moore has steadied his candidacy and that they should back — or at least avoid further antagonizing — someone who could soon be in the Senate.

Mr. McConnell, for instance, refrained Sunday from criticizing Mr. Moore or repeating earlier remarks indicating that the Senate might expel Mr. Moore if he were seated after numerous accusations of misconduct and unwanted overtures. Nine women have come forward in recent weeks to describe their encounters with Mr. Moore, including a woman who said that Mr. Moore molested her when she was 14 years old.

With the notable exception of Mr. Romney, many national Republicans seem to have shifted their approach: less active criticism of Mr. Moore and fewer threats of his swift expulsion from Congress, and more guarded comments, if any at all. Mr. Trump, though, could prove far more vocal about the race, especially when he appears Friday in Pensacola, Fla., which is within the Mobile, Ala., media market.

Unlike many Republicans in Washington, Mr. Trump, who himself has been accused of sexual misconduct, never cut off Mr. Moore completely. On Nov. 21, he telegraphed his support when he repeated Mr. Moore’s denials of impropriety and attacked Mr. Jones. But until Monday, it was unclear how much more Mr. Trump would do to aid Mr. Moore’s campaign.

Many top White House officials were not aware that Mr. Trump intended to fully tie himself to Mr. Moore on Monday; as in so many instances, they found out about his decision from his posts on Twitter. West Wing officials said Mr. Trump simply wants Republicans to retain control of the seat that Attorney General Jeff Sessions held for 20 years, and he is willing to avert his gaze from the allegations to stop Mr. Jones.

Speaking to a group of Republican senators last week, the president said he was not particularly enthused about Mr. Moore’s candidacy, but he felt like his victory would represent a better outcome than the election of a Democrat who would often oppose their agenda, according to a Republican official in the room for the conversation.

Roy Moore Is Mired in a Sexual Misconduct Scandal. Here’s How It Happened.

Two factors appear to have moved Mr. Trump. He likes to associate with winners, and Mr. Moore has apparently stabilized in the polls. Further, no other women have come forward recently to level additional accusations against Mr. Moore.

But Mr. Moore, who was twice effectively removed as chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, has been unable to outrun the accusations that became public last month.

Debbie Wesson Gibson, who has said she dated Mr. Moore for about two months when she was 17 and he was twice her age, showed The Washington Post a graduation card she said he had written to her. In scrawling script, it wished her a happy graduation and said, “I wanted to give you this card myself. I know that you’ll be a success in anything you do. Roy.”

In a text message on Monday night, a spokeswoman for the Moore campaign said that The Post was “reaching” and argued that the newspaper was “trying to write yet another story to distract from Doug Jones’ extremist liberal record.”

And last week, Leigh Corfman, who accused Mr. Moore of touching her over her underwear when she was 14, wrote her own letter in response to Mr. Moore’s denials.

“What you did to me when I was 14-years old should be revolting to every person of good morals,” Ms. Corfman wrote in the letter published by the Alabama Media Group. “But now you are attacking my honesty and integrity. Where does your immorality end?”

Some people quickly criticized the president for his endorsement. Paula Cobia, a lawyer for another of Mr. Moore’s accusers, said Mr. Trump was being hypocritical in advocating a border wall to keep out criminals while endorsing a Senate candidate “with multiple accusations against him for child molestation and sexual predation.”

Hours later, Ms. Cobia released a statement on behalf of Gloria Deason, who said that she dated Mr. Moore when she was 18 and that Mr. Moore lied when he said he did not know his accusers.

Document

Statement on Behalf of Gloria Deason

On Monday, the lawyer Paula Cobia released a statement on behalf of her client Gloria Deason, who said she was 18 when she dated Roy Moore. It said that Mr. Moore, a Republican candidate for a Senate seat in Alabama, lied when he said he did not know the women who accused him of sexual misconduct.



OPEN Document


So far, the president’s preferred form of support for Mr. Moore has been to go after Mr. Jones, whom he criticized as a “puppet” of Democratic leaders in Congress. Electing Mr. Jones, he wrote on Twitter, “would hurt our great Republican Agenda of low on taxes, tough crime, strong on military and borders…& so much more.”

Yet in Alabama, where the state’s senior Republican lawmaker, Senator Richard C. Shelby, cast a write-in vote for a Republican other than Mr. Moore, the ultimate value of Mr. Trump’s endorsement is unclear and perhaps even negligible. Although Mr. Trump easily carried Alabama when he was on the ballot, the candidate he preferred over Mr. Moore lost the primary runoff by nine percentage points.

Still, Mr. Moore’s allies believe that the White House’s backing could help.

“The biggest benefit we get from this is momentum and excitement about the campaign,” said Bill Armistead, the chairman of Mr. Moore’s campaign, who said Mr. Moore would not attend the president’s Pensacola rally.

On Monday in Auburn, a college town that is the cultural heart of a county where Mr. Trump won 59 percent of the vote, Andrew Orman said the president’s endorsement affirmed his support for Mr. Moore. And he thought it wise that Republicans in Washington seemed to be moving away from condemnation and toward insistence that Alabama voters should make up their own minds.

“Let the people use their own judgment or whatever,” Mr. Orman said.

But the president’s endorsement did not seem to matter to some voters, including supporters of Mr. Trump.

“I like Trump, I’m a fan of Trump,” said Kyle Smith, 20, who is studying to be a welder and said he needed more time to study the race. “But, I mean, I’m not making my decision off him.”

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