GOP senator: Trump should ask Moore to step aside in race

GOP senator: Trump should ask Moore to step aside in race
© Greg Nash

Sen. John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - White House, Dems play blame game over evictions GOP skepticism looms over bipartisan spending deal Graham's COVID-19 'breakthrough' case jolts Senate MORE (R-S.D.) on Sunday said he would like to see President Trump reverse his backing of GOP candidate Roy Moore, arguing that he will be a distraction to the Republican agenda if he is elected.

"If Moore wins, there will immediately be an ethics investigation and he will be working under a cloud. He is a distraction," Thune said of Moore to host Chris Wallace on "Fox News Sunday."


"I would like to see the president come out and do what we’ve done, saying Moore should step aside," he said.

The South Dakota lawmaker indicated that while "ultimately the decision is up to the people of Alabama," the president can use his power and influence to have Moore pull out of the race.

"The president can speak for himself, as far as I’m concerned, the president can use his influence and do what he can to get Moore to step aside," Thune said.

Thune's remarks come after a handful of women came forward and accused Moore of pursuing them while they were teenagers and he was in his 30s. One woman said she was 14 years old when Moore initiated a sexual encounter with her.

Moore has denied the accusations, calling them politically motivated.

After a lengthy silence on the accusations, Trump in the last few days has weighed in on the race by criticizing Moore's Democratic opponent Doug Jones. While most national Republicans have withdrawn their support of Moore, Trump appears to be backing him as the better of two options.

"Can’t let Schumer/Pelosi win this race. Liberal Jones would be BAD!" Trump tweeted on Sunday, referring to Democratic leaders in Congress.

Thune, a member of the Senate Finance Committee, also expressed optimism that the GOP tax-reform proposal "will pass" into law.

"Our goal is to deliver important tax relief to middle-income families," Thune said, while adding that the upper chamber will be able to successfully deliver a bill to the president's desk.

Thune also spoke out against the possibility of a government shutdown if both parties cannot agree on a long-term spending bill.

"We shouldn’t have any discussion about shutting down the government," he said, adding that the bill should include disaster assistance relief but not address the next steps for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipients.