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.
That view was shared by Scott Reed, a political strategist for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, who opposed Moore's nomination.
Most Republicans who acknowledged the horrific nature of the allegations agreed that Moore should step down, but only "if true." Sen. Mobile County GOP Chairman John Skipper, meanwhile, said he believed the accusations reported by the Post were "bunk" because if they were true, Skipper said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) - who opposed Moore in the state's Republican primary - would have publicized them.
The Post also interviewed three other women who say that "Moore pursued them when they were between the ages of 16 and 18 and he was in his early 30s, episodes they say they found flattering at the time, but troubling as they got older".
Alaska Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski said unusual should launch a write-in campaign if the allegations are true.
The report comes five weeks before Moore faces off against Democrat Doug Jones in the fiercely competitive special election to fill the Senate seat vacated by Jeff Sessions when he became USA attorney general.
"He should immediately step aside and allow the people of Alabama to elect a candidate they can be proud of", he said in a statement Thursday.
"The Bezos Amazon Washington Post that dropped that dime on Donald Trump is the same Bezos Amazon Washington Post that dropped the dime this afternoon on Judge Roy Moore", Bannon said Thursday night. John McCain, R-Ariz., called on Moore to step aside as well - and without couching his statement with "if true" language.
But Alabama State Auditor Jim Zeigler came to Moore's defense.
The Huffington Post reports that even if Moore withdraws, he can not be easily replaced on the ballot, perhaps ensuring that the seat will fall to the Democratic challenger Doug Jones in the December 12 election.
Under Alabama state law, the ballot can not be changed within 76 days of an election. Moore has given no indication of withdrawing from the race, but if he did and still drew the most votes, a second special election would have to be called.
Moore now promises to be an even bigger headache for the Republican Party.
Unusual didn't respond to questions from reporters Thursday.
Despite Gardner's statement Thursday, Alabama's Secretary of State's Office said Thursday that his name can't be removed for the ballot even if he were to drop out of the race.
"The allegations against Roy Moore are deeply disturbing and disqualifying", McCain said in a tweet. "There is no place in our party for sexual predators".
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