McConnell: ‘No change of heart’ on Roy Moore
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) insisted on Tuesday that he has not changed his position on Roy Moore, after saying over the weekend that Alabama voters would decide if the Republican nominee joins the Senate.
“There’s been no change of heart. I had hoped earlier he would withdraw as a candidate. That obviously is not going to happen,” McConnell told reporters, saying he has made his position on Moore “perfectly clear.”
McConnell came under fire over the weekend after he told ABC News’s “This Week” that he would “let the people of Alabama make the call” on Moore joining the Senate.
McConnell added on Tuesday that Republicans will have “no option” but to seat Moore if he wins, citing a 1960s Supreme Court case.
The Supreme Court ruled in Powell v. McCormack that while the Constitution gives Congress the ability to punish members for “disorderly” behavior, it couldn’t use an exclusion vote to refuse to seat a member who was legally elected.
The House refused to seat Rep. Adam Clayton Powell Jr. (D-N.Y.), who was facing misconduct allegations by voting to “exclude” him.
McConnell had previously called on Moore to step aside after multiple women accused the former judge of sexual misconduct when they were teenagers and he was in his 30s.
McConnell added on Tuesday that if Moore wins the Dec. 12 election, he would immediately face an “Ethics Committee case.”
“If he were to be elected, I think he would immediately have an issue with the Ethics Committee, which they would take up,” he said.
Moore has denied the allegations. He is currently polling ahead of Democratic candidate Doug Jones by an average of less than 2 percentage points, according to Real Clear Politics.
Though GOP senators have distanced themselves from Moore following the allegations, President Trump endorsed him this week and the Republican National Committee is restarting financial support for the race.
The National Republican Senatorial Committee isn’t expected to restart help after Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), the campaign arm’s chairman, called for an expulsion vote if Moore wins.
McConnell said it was his “expectation” that the NRSC would stay out of the race.
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