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 McConnellPelosi: Trump hurrying to fill SCOTUS seat so he can repeal ObamaCare Senate GOP aims to confirm Trump court pick by Oct. 29: report Trump argues full Supreme Court needed to settle potential election disputes MORE (R-Ky.) and Sens. Cory GardnerCory Scott GardnerOvernight Health Care: US coronavirus deaths hit 200,000 | Ginsburg's death puts future of ObamaCare at risk | Federal panel delays vote on initial COVID-19 vaccine distribution The Hill's Campaign Report: GOP set to ask SCOTUS to limit mail-in voting Senate GOP sees early Supreme Court vote as political booster shot MORE (R-Colo.), Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiSenate GOP aims to confirm Trump court pick by Oct. 29: report Senate GOP sees early Supreme Court vote as political booster shot Pence defends Trump's 'obligation' to nominate new Supreme Court justice MORE (R-Alaska), John CornynJohn CornynThe Hill's Campaign Report: GOP set to ask SCOTUS to limit mail-in voting Liberal super PAC launches ads targeting vulnerable GOP senators over SCOTUS fight Senate GOP faces pivotal moment on pick for Supreme Court MORE (R-Texas), Richard ShelbyRichard Craig ShelbySenate GOP eyes early exit Dems discussing government funding bill into February GOP short of votes on Trump's controversial Fed pick MORE (R-Ala.), Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsSenate GOP aims to confirm Trump court pick by Oct. 29: report The Hill's Campaign Report: GOP set to ask SCOTUS to limit mail-in voting Senate GOP sees early Supreme Court vote as political booster shot MORE (R-Maine), Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeJeff Flake: Republicans 'should hold the same position' on SCOTUS vacancy as 2016 Republican former Michigan governor says he's voting for Biden Maybe they just don't like cowboys: The president is successful, some just don't like his style MORE (R-Ariz.), Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanMcConnell locks down key GOP votes in Supreme Court fight Romney undecided on authorizing subpoenas for GOP Obama-era probes Congress needs to prioritize government digital service delivery 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 McCainCindy McCain endorses Biden: He's only candidate 'who stands up for our values' Biden says Cindy McCain will endorse him Biden's six best bets in 2016 Trump states MORE (R-Ariz.) said the allegations were "disqualifying."

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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 SessionsGOP set to release controversial Biden report Trump's policies on refugees are as simple as ABCs Ocasio-Cortez, Velázquez call for convention to decide Puerto Rico status MORE's former Senate seat. 

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