GOP senators: Moore should step aside if allegations true

GOP senators: Moore should step aside if allegations true
© Greg Nash

GOP senators on Thursday called for the Republican Senate candidate in Alabama to step down if a story containing sexual allegations against him is true.

Roy Moore is accused of having an inappropriate sexual encounter with a 14-year-old girl in 1979, when he was 32. 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellOvernight Defense: House passes T spending package with defense funds | Senate set to vote on blocking Saudi arms sales | UN nominee defends climate change record Overnight Defense: House passes T spending package with defense funds | Senate set to vote on blocking Saudi arms sales | UN nominee defends climate change record Senate to vote Thursday to block Trump's Saudi arms deal MORE (R-Ky.) and Sens. Cory GardnerCory Scott GardnerHillicon Valley: Senate sets hearing on Facebook's cryptocurrency plans | FTC reportedly investigating YouTube over children's privacy | GOP senator riles tech with bill targeting liability shield | FAA pushed to approve drone deliveries Hillicon Valley: Senate sets hearing on Facebook's cryptocurrency plans | FTC reportedly investigating YouTube over children's privacy | GOP senator riles tech with bill targeting liability shield | FAA pushed to approve drone deliveries Senate panel advances bill to protect government devices against cyber threats MORE (R-Colo.), Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiInterior spending bill holds Trump administration accountable for 2017 promises Hillicon Valley: Hacker group targeted electric grid | House Democrats press CBP over facial recognition program | Senators offer bill to protect health data | Groups file FCC complaint over carriers' use of location data Hillicon Valley: Hacker group targeted electric grid | House Democrats press CBP over facial recognition program | Senators offer bill to protect health data | Groups file FCC complaint over carriers' use of location data MORE (R-Alaska), John CornynJohn CornynSanders says Juneteenth should be a national holiday Sanders says Juneteenth should be a national holiday GOP frets about Trump's poll numbers MORE (R-Texas), Richard ShelbyRichard Craig ShelbyHouse Democrats close to finalizing border aid bill House Democrats close to finalizing border aid bill Congressional leaders, White House officials fail to reach budget deal MORE (R-Ala.), Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsSenate confirms Trump judicial nominee criticized for being hostile to LGBT community Senate confirms Trump judicial nominee criticized for being hostile to LGBT community GOP frets about Trump's poll numbers MORE (R-Maine), Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeDemocrats needle GOP on standing up to Trump Democrats needle GOP on standing up to Trump Amash gets standing ovation at first town hall after calling for Trump's impeachment MORE (R-Ariz.), Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanSenate panel advances bill to protect government devices against cyber threats Senate panel advances bill to protect government devices against cyber threats House passes bill to establish DHS cyber 'first responder' teams MORE (R-Ohio) and David Perdue (R-Ga.) all made similar statements, saying if the claims are true then Moore doesn't belong in the Senate. 

Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainMeghan McCain clashes with Joy Behar as the 'sacrificial Republican' on 'The View' The DNC's climate problems run deep Trump's health care focus puts GOP on edge MORE (R-Ariz.) said the allegations were "disqualifying."

ADVERTISEMENT

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told reporters that "if these allegations are true, he must step aside."

“If there's any truth to those stories, he ought to step aside,” Flake told reporters.

Collins told reporters she was "horrified" to hear of the accusations, and also called on Moore to step down. Perdue called the accusations "devastating." 

Cornyn called the allegations "deeply disturbing." 

“I think it's up to the governor and the folks of Alabama to make that decision as far as what the next step is,” Cornyn told reporters.

“The allegations against Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore are deeply troubling,” said Gardner, who is the chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, in a statement. “If these allegations are found to be true, Roy Moore must drop out of the Alabama special Senate election.”

"If that's true he doesn't belong in the Senate," said Shelby, the senior Alabama senator.

"If what we read is true, and people are on the record so I assume it is, that he should step aside," said Portman.

McCain was the first senator to call for Moore to step down based solely on the allegations against him.

"The allegations against Roy Moore are deeply disturbing and disqualifying," McCain said in a statement. "He should immediately step aside and allow the people of Alabama to elect a candidate they can be proud of.”

The Senate Republican backlash comes after The Washington Post reported that Moore took part in an inappropriate sexual encounter with an underage girl when he was in his early thirties. 

Leigh Corfman, now 53, said Moore made sexual advances on her when she was 14 years old. 

The newspaper also found three other women who said that Moore had approached them around the same time, when they were between the ages of 16 and 18.

Moore's campaign have disputed the report, calling it "garbage" that defines fake news.

“Judge Roy Moore has endured the most outlandish attacks on any candidate in the modern political arena, but this story in today’s Washington Post alleging sexual impropriety takes the cake,” Bill Armistead, Moore’s campaign chairman, said in a statement. 

Moore is running against Democrat Doug Jones to fill Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsAlabama senator: Sessions hasn't ruled out Senate bid Alabama senator: Sessions hasn't ruled out Senate bid The Hill's Morning Report - Trump to kick off bid for second term in Florida MORE's former Senate seat. 

- Jordain Carney, Rebecca Kheel, Ellen Mitchell and Nathaniel Weixel contributed. 
 
- Updated 2:47 p.m.