Ariz. GOP candidate walks back comments on Trump misconduct allegations

Ariz. GOP candidate walks back comments on Trump misconduct allegations
© Screenshot/Arizona's NBC 12 News
An Arizona GOP candidate in a special congressional race walked back her comments after she said there needed to be an investigation into alleged sexual misconduct by President TrumpDonald John TrumpImpeachment? Not so fast without missing element of criminal intent Feds say marijuana ties could prevent immigrants from getting US citizenship Trump approval drops to 2019 low after Mueller report's release: poll MORE.
 
A former state senator and current Trump ally, Debbie Lesko said in a debate on a local news station over the weekend that the allegations should be looked into. 
 
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“I’m not the president, and I don’t use his rhetoric and I certainly am not going to sexually harass anyone," she said.
 
Her comments came the same weekend CBS's "60 Minutes" aired an interview with adult-film actress Stormy Daniels, who claims that she had sex with Trump in 2006. Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, also alleges that someone threatened her to keep quiet after she agreed to talk about the affair to a sister publication of In Touch magazine. The White House has repeatedly denied that Trump slept with the Daniels.
 
Lesko said during the debate that Trump "needs to address [the allegations], obviously. It needs to be investigated." 
 
But later, in an interview with The New York Times, Lesko walked back her comments, saying she found Daniels's allegations "a little hard to believe."
 
“The business that she’s in — I’m sorry,” Ms. Lesko said, according to the Times. “People can make any kind of allegations they want, that doesn’t mean they’re true.”
 
She told the newspaper that she had misspoken during the debate regarding the investigation. 
 
“I didn’t mean a formal investigation by government or something like that,” she said. “I just meant it needs to run its course.”
 
In contrast, Lesko's Democratic opponent, longtime physician and political newcomer Hiral Tipirneni, says she believes Daniels's story. 
 
The GOP candidate currently holds a double-digit lead in the race to replace Rep. Trent FranksHarold (Trent) Trent FranksArizona New Members 2019 Cook shifts 8 House races toward Dems Freedom Caucus members see openings in leadership MORE (R) in the deep-red district, after a scandal involving Franks's request to a staffer to be a surrogate mother for his child.