Following allegations that he sexually assaulted a young girl, the Republican National Committee has backed out of a joint fundraising agreement with Roy Moore, further distancing itself from the Alabama Senate candidate. Now, only the Alabama Republican Party and Moore's own campaign remain in the agreement.
First, the National Republican Senatorial Committee dropped out of the deal, after the Washington Post reported that Moore had allegedly sexually harassed or assaulted four women while he was district attorney, many of whom were teenagers at the time. "If these allegations are found to be true," NRSC chairman, Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado, said in a statement Thursday, "Roy Moore must drop out of the Alabama special Senate election."
A fifth woman, Beverly Young Nelson, came forward on Monday to accuse Moore of sexually assaulting her when she was a teen. “I tried fighting him off, while yelling at him to stop, but instead of stopping, he began squeezing my neck, attempting to force my head onto his crotch,” Nelson said at a press conference with her lawyer Gloria Allred. She was a waitress at a local restaurant at the time, and Moore offered to give her a ride home after her shift. After the encounter, he warned her, “no one will believe you” if she told anyone about what he'd done.
Moore has adamantly denied the accusations and tried to discredit Allred as an attorney by bringing up her connection to Roe v. Wade. "Gloria Allred is a sensationalist leading a witch hunt, and she is only around to create a spectacle," Moore's campaign chair Bill Armistead said in a statement. "Allred was the attorney who claims credit for giving us Roe v. Wade which has resulted in the murder of tens of millions of unborn babies."
Meanwhile, some GOP leaders have condemned Moore's behavior and asked that he step aside in the race for Alabama Senate. "I think he should step aside," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said. "I believe the women." John McCain called the allegations "deeply disturbing and disqualifying," adding that Moore "should immediately step aside and allow the people of Alabama to elect a candidate they can be proud of."
Mitt Romney called the women's accounts, particularly Leigh Corfman who was 14 at the time of her assault, "too serious to ignore." He believes Moore is "unfit for office," adding that, "Innocent until proven guilty is for criminal convictions, not elections."
Senators like Mike Lee of Utah, Steve Daines of Montana, and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, all withdrew their support from Moore's Senate campaign. "Having read the detailed description of the incidents, as well as the response from Judge Moore and his campaign, I can no longer endorse his candidacy for the US Senate," Lee tweeted. Tennessee Senator Bob Corker also withdrew supporting, saying, "Look, I'm sorry, but even before these reports surfaced, Roy Moore's nomination was a bridge too far."
While Moore has faced a lot of backlash following the allegations, a number of Republicans have come to his defense. Alabama Rep Ed Henry has said he believes that Moore's victims should be prosecuted for not coming forward sooner. Alabama State Auditor Jim Zeigler called the allegations, even if proven true, "much ado about very little." And several officials said they would still vote for Moore even if he were found guilty.
Meanwhile, major members of the party continue to sever ties with Moore and attempt to push him out of the race, including by having the RNC withdrawing its financial support. However, even if Moore exits the race, his name would still appear on the ballot per state law, according to Politico, which prevents candidates from withdrawing within 76 days prior to an election. The RNC has not responded to Bustle's request for comment.