White House counselor Kellyanne Conway has spoken up regarding allegations that Republican senatorial candidate Roy Moore courted and sexually assaulted several minors, including a woman who was 14 years old at the time. Like most mainstream Republican response since the allegations broke mid-afternoon on Thursday, Conway's response to Moore's alleged sexual misconduct was lukewarm.
“We need to listen to both sides, but at the same time, that hypothetical would be disqualifying for anyone in public office,” Conway said in a video clip on MSNBC. Conway functionally echoed Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's statements earlier that day, in which the senator said Moore should step aside "if these allegations are true."
The story, published by The Washington Post on Thursday, details several women's accounts of allegedly being sexually pursued by Moore when they were teenagers. At the heart of the story is Leigh Corfman, who says she was just 14 years old when Moore introduced himself to her and her mother outside of a local courtroom in Alabama, the state Moore is now vying to represent. Moore was an assistant district attorney at the time, and 18 years her senior. Corfman claims that the interaction led to several additional encounters, during one of which Moore allegedly brought her to his home and attempted to initiate a sexual interaction.
The Post relied on more than 30 sources to report on the allegations, but in a statement, Moore's team referred to the report as a "yet another baseless attack." His campaign chair, Bill Armistead, continued:
Judge Roy Moore has endured the most outlandish attacks on any candidate in the modern political arena, but this story in today’s Washington Post alleging sexual impropriety takes the cake. ... The Washington Post has already endorsed the Judge’s opponent, and for months, they have engaged in a systematic campaign to distort the truth about the Judge’s record and career and derail his campaign.
According to the same press release, Moore described the report as "completely false and a desperate political attack."
In the Post report, Corfman describes in vivid detail how Moore allegedly initiated two sexual encounters at his house in 1979. According to Corfman, Moore offered to watch her while her mother went into the courthouse. Then, she says he asked her for her phone number, and picked her up near her house a few days later. Corfman claims that this happened twice. During the first encounter, she says the two kissed. During the second encounter, Corfman says that Moore undressed and touched her over her underwear before taking her hand and moving it on top of his own underwear.
“I wanted it over with — I wanted out,” Corfman told the Post. “Please just get this over with. Whatever this is, just get it over.”
Corfman is one of four women interviewed by the Post who allege that Moore tried to initiate relationships when them when they were teenagers.
Currently, Moore is the leading candidate in a special election to fill a senatorial seat left vacant by Attorney General Jeff Sessions. The election is slated to take place on Dec. 12.
Most Republicans who acknowledged the horrific nature of the allegations agreed that Moore should step down, but only "if true." Sen. John McCain, however, did not equivocate.
"The allegations against Roy Moore are deeply disturbing and disqualifying," McCain said in a press release. "He should immediately step aside and allow the people of Alabama to elect a candidate they can be proud of."
Some local Alabama politicians, however, were not as quick to suggest the allegations could be credible.
Talking Points Memo reports that, among dissenters, Perry Hooper Jr., President Trump’s Alabama state chairman, described the allegations as "a bunch of bull."