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 McConnellLawmakers run into major speed bumps on spending bills Budowsky: Donald, Boris, Bibi — The right in retreat Hillicon Valley: Zuckerberg to meet with lawmakers | Big tech defends efforts against online extremism | Trump attends secretive Silicon Valley fundraiser | Omar urges Twitter to take action against Trump tweet MORE (R-Ky.) and Sens. Cory GardnerCory Scott Gardner The 13 Republicans needed to pass gun-control legislation Bolton returns to political group after exiting administration The Hill's Morning Report — Trump's hurricane forecast controversy won't go away MORE (R-Colo.), Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiSinema touts bipartisan record as Arizona Democrats plan censure vote Kavanaugh impeachment push hits Capitol buzz saw McConnell lashes out at Democrats over 'unhinged' criticism of Kavanaugh MORE (R-Alaska), John CornynJohn CornynGOP signals unease with Barr's gun plan Hillicon Valley: Zuckerberg to meet with lawmakers | Big tech defends efforts against online extremism | Trump attends secretive Silicon Valley fundraiser | Omar urges Twitter to take action against Trump tweet Trump administration floats background check proposal to Senate GOP MORE (R-Texas), Richard ShelbyRichard Craig ShelbyLawmakers run into major speed bumps on spending bills Senate Democrats block government spending bill Senate Democrats demand wall-free spending allocation MORE (R-Ala.), Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsGOP signals unease with Barr's gun plan Sinema touts bipartisan record as Arizona Democrats plan censure vote The Hill's Morning Report - Trump takes 2020 roadshow to New Mexico MORE (R-Maine), Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeFlake donates to Democratic sheriff being challenged by Arpaio in Arizona The Hill's Morning Report - Trump says US-China trade talks to resume, hails potential trade with Japan, UK Joe Arpaio to run for Maricopa County sheriff in 2020  MORE (R-Ariz.), Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanCost for last three government shutdowns estimated at billion The Hill's Morning Report - Trump takes 2020 roadshow to New Mexico The 13 Republicans needed to pass gun-control legislation 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 McCainCan the presidential candidates please talk about our debt crisis? Michelle Malkin knocks Cokie Roberts shortly after her death: 'One of the first guilty culprits of fake news' Arizona Democratic Party will hold vote to censure Sinema 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 SessionsPelosi: Lewandowski should have been held in contempt 'right then and there' Democrats bicker over strategy on impeachment McCabe says he would 'absolutely not' cut a deal with prosecutors MORE's former Senate seat. 

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