Who Supports Roy Moore? 10 Alabama Politicians Still Have His Back & Are Super Vocal About It
The standard line from Senate Republicans in Washington, D.C., has been that Alabama candidate for senator Roy Moore must step down if the allegations of child molestation against him are proven to be true. (Moore has repeatedly denied allegations of sexual misconduct, calling them "absolutely false.") Some say that he should step aside now, and others have floated the idea of expelling him from the Senate if he's ultimately elected. But that's not what you'll be hearing from many of his Republican colleagues in the state of Alabama. Elected Republicans who are publicly defending Moore despite the allegations are almost all state- or county-level officials.
The most searing condemnations from Alabama politicians still include the "if true" caveat. Alabama's other senator, Sen. Richard Shelby, initially said in a statement, "If that's true, I don't believe there'd be any place for him in the United States Senate." If true. Since then he has told reporters Moore should quit the race.
But Republican Gov. Kay Ivey even said she would vote for him now. "The election will be on December the 12th, and I will hold judgment until we get more of the facts," Ivey said. "People of Alabama need to know the facts. ... Based on what I know now, yes I will vote for him. But we don't have the facts. There may be some more facts to come out. But he is the party's nominee."
So when you have the highest elected Republican in the state, a woman, willing to vote for him, it's no surprise that there are others who have defended him even more forcefully.
1Ed Henry, Alabama GOP State Representative
GOP State Rep Ed Henry thinks that we should prosecute the VICTIMS of Roy Moore's sexual assault because they did not come forward sooner. No, I'm not kidding. https://t.co/B4Zn0YpojD— Renato Mariotti (@renato_mariotti) November 10, 2017
Ed Henry, a state representative told AL.com, "I believe, in this instance, the accused is the victim." In an interview with the Cullman Times, he explained why.
It's actually quite common for a victim of sexual abuse to refrain from reporting or wait years or even decades to come forward. Tom Tremblay, a former Vermont police officer who works to prevent sexual assault, told Vox about how power differentials are often at play — when it's someone influential, many victims fear they won't be believed. "Victims may wait days, weeks, months, years, decades," Tremblay told the website.
2Jim Zeigler, Alabama State Auditor
Among those defending Moore is Jim Zeigler, the Alabama state auditor, who referenced the Bible. Ziegler told the Washington Examiner:
Ziegler also said there was "nothing immoral or illegal" about Moore's alleged behavior, acknowledging that it was "just a little bit unusual." (In fact, child molestation, an allegation Moore has vehemently denied, is illegal; the legal age of consent in Alabama is 16.)
And then there's this quote from Ziegler, according to Montgomery Advertiser reporter Bryan Lyman:
Twitter had quite a difficult time with this. As one user wrote:
Even biblical scholars took issue with it too. Rev. Jim Martin, editor at large of the Jesuit magazine America, tweeted that "comparing the allegations against Roy Moore in any way to Joseph and Mary is disgusting."
3Jerry Pow, Bibb County GOP Chair
After a long pause, Alabama Bibb County Republican chairman Jerry Pow tells me he'd vote for Roy Moore even if Moore did commit a sex crime against a girl.— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) November 9, 2017
"I would vote for Judge Moore because I wouldn't want to vote for Doug," he says. "I'm not saying I support what he did."
Some of the defenses were more reserved. "I would vote for Judge Moore because I wouldn't want to vote for Doug," Jerry Pow, Bibb County Republican chair, told the Toronto Star's Daniel Dale, who reached out to every Alabama GOP county chairman. "I'm not saying I support what he did."
Others disagree — "Voting for Roy Moore is absolutely supporting his crimes, don't let anyone tell you differently," Twitter user John Toner wrote in response to Pow's comment.
4David Hall, Marion County GOP Chair
"It was 40 years ago," Alabama Marion County GOP chair David Hall tells me. "I really don't see the relevance of it. He was 32. She was supposedly 14. She's not saying that anything happened other than they kissed."— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) November 9, 2017
Daniel Dale also heard from Marion County GOP chair David Hall.
When Dale clarified that Moore's accuser alleged that he tried to get her to touch his crotch, Hall responded:
Once again, that the alleged victims didn't speak up immediately is not a surprise. Somewhere between 67 percent and 90 percent of victims do not come forward, according to the National Association of Adult Survivors of Child Abuse.
5Riley Seibenhener, Geneva County GOP Chair
"Other than being with an underage person - he didn't really force himself," Alabama Geneva County GOP chairman Riley Seibenhener tells me. "I know that's bad enough, but I don't know. If he withdraws, it's five weeks to the election...that would concede it to the Democrat."— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) November 10, 2017
Geneva County GOP chairman Riley Seibenhener differentiated what Moore did from more violent episodes.
Regardless of the force that was used, what Moore has been accused of is illegal — Minors cannot consent in Alabama. Moore was in his 30s when the alleged incidents happened. The age of consent in the state is 16, the lowest and most common in the country.
6William Blocker, Covington County GOP Chair
"Yeah!" Covington County GOP Chairman William Blocker tells me he'd consider voting Moore even if hard proof of sexual abuse emerged.— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) November 9, 2017
"There is NO option to support to support Doug Jones, the Democratic nominee. When you do that, you are supporting the entire Democrat party."
Covington County Republican chairman William Blocker also prioritized voting against the Democrat, even if Moore is guilty of sexual abuse.
7John Skipper, Mobile County GOP Chair
John Skipper's office # is 251.689.3302 Call him and explain the issue is Roy Moore's behavior, not the Democrats. https://t.co/on2fIb46cX— Maggie Jordan: (@MaggieJordanACN) November 9, 2017
County GOP chair John Skipper also attacked the accusers, according to Dale.
Many have criticized this line of defense against Moore, which paints the allegations of sexual assault as a partisan issue.
8John Merrill, Republican Secretary of State
Alabama's Secretary of State John Merrill doesn't believe the women who have accusations against Roy Moore. He stated on CNN today that he finds the timing "curious." What an idiot! Women finally feel safe coming forward thanks to Harvey Weinstein's accusers paving the way.— Jen (@JenTusch) November 14, 2017
John Merrill, Alabama's Secretary of State, refrained from commenting on whether Moore should withdraw from the race. But then he went on to attack the accusers in an interview with the HuffPost.
The timing of the Post report has also been pointed to as a reason to disbelieve the allegations. Others have noted, however, that it's not at all unusual that Moore is facing such heightened scrutiny today — he is, after all, running for Senate.
9Sam Givhan, Madison County GOP Chair
@Sam_Givhan re Moore - I hope every woman is listening to your statements. Shame, shame on you!— Sandra (@sasmarq) November 10, 2017
Sam Givhan is a county Republican chair who has questioned the timing of the allegations, according to the HuffPost.
Twitter user @SurlyGurl09 had a theory for the timing.
10Paul Reynolds, Republican National Committeeman From Alabama
Paul Reynolds, RNC from Alabama re Moore accusations: rather put my welfare in hands of Putin than @wapo.— Christopher C. Cuomo (@ChrisCuomo) November 10, 2017
Paul Reynolds, a Republican National Committeeman from Alabama, told The Hill that the story "doesn't smell right."
The Post interviewed four women for their initial story multiple times and a fifth one has now come forward. In total, the paper spoke with 30 people who knew Moore at the time in question.
Besides the Alabama defenders, there are also big Moore supporters in D.C.: Steve Bannon and Breitbart News. The website has been running pieces that some say are trying to defend the candidate and accuse the Post of targeting Moore because he's a Republican. As long as they have local GOP officials to quote supporting Moore, that will be all that much easier.