GOP Senate candidate Roy Moore was recently accused of sexual misconduct against four women during their teenage years. The Alabama GOP runner has strongly denied any wrongdoing, and his lawyer has joined him in speaking out against the allegations. On Wednesday, Moore's attorney, Trenton Garmon, made a bizarre statement on TV, telling MSNBC's Stephanie Ruhle and Ali Velshi that Velshi might understand dating minors given his "diverse" cultural background.
On Wednesday, Garmon appeared on MSNBC's Live With Velshi & Ruhle to address the accusations amid growing calls for Moore to leave the Senate race. Garmon was defending recent statements delivered by Moore on Friday, in which he said that he asked for "permission" to date girls. "I don’t remember that, or dating any girl without the permission of her mother," Moore said on Sean Hannity's radio show when asked if he had ever dated minors.
Reminding Garmon of those statements, Ruhle asked, "Why would he need permission from any of these girls’ mothers if they weren’t underage?" The attorney at first pointed to "cultural differences" and then went on a peculiar tangent of congratulating Velshi's "diverse" heritage.
"Culturally speaking, I would say there’s differences," Garmon said. "I looked up Ali’s background there and, wow, that’s awesome that you have got such a diverse background. It’s really cool to read through that." Garmon was presumably referring to underage marriages in India while congratulating Velshi's "diverse" background. Velshi, who was born in Kenya and is of Indian descent, was raised most of his life in Canada.
Ruhle grilled Garmon, "What does Ali’s background have to do with dating a 14-year-old? Please answer. What does Ali Velshi’s background have to do with dating children, 14-year-old girls?"
Garmon doubled down, "Sure, in other countries, there’s arrangement through parents for what we would refer to as consensual marriage."
Ruhle then informed the attorney that Velshi was from Canada, and Garmon said he understood, while adding, "Ali’s also spent time in other countries." Thoroughly displeased with the attorney's defense, Ruhle informed the lawyer that she, too, had lived abroad.
Velshi, too, responded to the lawyer's comments. "I don't know where you're going with this," he said.
Garmon didn't stop there and said Moore's "process" was that "before he would date anybody, whether they're 25, 35, or whether he doesn't know the age, he would ask the mother's permission." To Garmon, there was "no inconsistency" in Moore's response.
Garmon isn't alone in his strange defense for Moore. The attorney's remarks seem to be an addition to the list of bizarre statements, including one Alabama state official's support for the GOP runner in The Washington Examiner by referencing Joseph and Mary. "Take Joseph and Mary. Mary was a teenager and Joseph was an adult carpenter. They became parents of Jesus. There’s just nothing immoral or illegal here. Maybe just a little bit unusual," Jim Zeigler said.
Moore's public image has taken a swift turn south after the accusations were made public. Calls for him to leave the race from his very own political camp have intensified over the past one week with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell stating, "I believe the women, yes" on Monday.
McConnell said that there is an option for a write-in campaign that the Republican party is considering at the moment. Undeterred by the mounting criticism, Moore took to Twitter and responded to McConnell's statement with a tweet saying, "The person who should step aside is @SenateMajLdr Mitch McConnell. He has failed conservatives and must be replaced. #DrainTheSwamp."
After the cringe-worthy interview with Garmon ended, the show hosts gave their final verdict on his racially insensitive comments. "There’s nothing cultural about my background that’d help me to understand that conversation was about," Velshi said.