On Monday, in a move that stunned many, the Republican National Committee restored financial support for Roy Moore’s U.S. Senate campaign in Alabama. The decision came shortly after President Trump’s public endorsement of the embattled candidate, and weeks after the committee had severed all ties with Moore amid credible allegations of sexual misconduct (including child abuse).
The president presented his case for Moore earlier in the day on Twitter, tweeting, “Democrats refusal to give even one vote for massive Tax Cuts is why we need Republican Roy Moore to win in Alabama. We need his vote on stopping crime, illegal immigration, Border Wall, Military, Pro Life, V.A., Judges 2nd Amendment and more. No to Jones, a Pelosi/Schumer Puppet!”
Trump reportedly pressured the RNC into reversing its earlier decision (on the back of his endorsement), and that’s exactly what the committee did. The new influx of money will likely help the Moore campaign with voter turnout in the final days of the election.
If there was any lingering doubt that the GOP is now the party of Trump, this move should erase it.
My how times have changed. It was just five years ago that the RNC and then presidential candidate Mitt Romney were quick to pull their support of senatorial candidate Todd Aiken, following Aiken’s controversial comment about “legitimate rape.”
Today, not even ten credible female accusers (at least half of them Republicans), dozens of witnesses, non-denial denials from the accused, and widespread condemnation by top Republican leaders can keep the national party from endorsing and funding an alleged sexual predator…as long as Trump says it’s okay.
Of course, the argument exhaustively put forth by Moore supporters is that because their guy hasn’t been convicted of a crime, none of these accusations are relevant. Beyond the hypocrisy of these same supporters refusing to extend this defense to liberal politicians accused of similar conduct, their argument is just flat-out wrong.
There’s a difference between a burden of proof used when prosecuting someone for a crime, and a burden of character used when measuring one’s fitness for public office. Todd Aiken wasn’t convicted of a crime either. Neither was former congressman Mark Foley, when he was asked to resign by Republican leaders, following allegations in 2006 that he had sent explicit instant messages to teenage boys who were serving as congressional pages. Still, both Aiken and Foley were cut loose by the GOP, and justifiably so.
What Moore is credibly accused of goes well beyond what we saw with Aiken and Foley. And sadly, by any reasonable assessment, Roy Moore would have been deemed an unacceptable candidate prior the sexual misconduct allegations ever coming out. We’re talking, after all, about a former judge who was twice removed from the bench for not complying with the law, said that homosexuality should be illegal, and suggested that the 9/11 terrorist attacks were a punishment from God.
Ultimately, the decision of whether Moore should serve in public office comes down to Alabama voters. Moore, of course, has every right to run, but the RNC is under no obligation to endorse and fund his campaign. The fact that they have chosen to do so, in light of the increasing number of allegations and corroborating evidence against Moore (not to mention the committee’s month-long demands for Democrats return the money donated by Harvey Weinstein), is a disgrace.
As Monday’s events were unfolding, Mitt Romney took to social media to voice his opposition: “Roy Moore in the US Senate would be a stain on the GOP and on the nation. Leigh Corfman and other victims are courageous heroes. No vote, no majority is worth losing our honor, our integrity.”
Conservative commentator Amanda Carpenter tweeted, “I want to see every female at the RNC come on TV today and tell me why Kellyanne Conway and Ivanka Trump were wrong about Moore.” She was referring to Conway and Trump’s public condemnations of Moore.
“If you want to belong to either major party, just accept upfront that they’re both irredeemably craven and amoral,” tweeted Ricochet.com Editor-in-Chief, Jon Gabriel.
Conservative writer John Podhoretz seemed to share Gabriel’s sentiment, writing, “For decades now, on thousands of occasions, I’ve told people I’m not a Republican, I’m a conservative. What happened tonight with the RNC justifies every millimeter of distance I’ve sought.”
I feel their pain.
I was a registered (and active) Republican for 16 years before I left the party in May of last year. My decision came after realizing that far too few within the GOP still valued (and insisted upon) personal character in their representatives. Since then, I’ve been leaving the door open for the party to show me, in some way, that I was wrong. Instead, they’ve seemed increasingly intent on proving that my original assessment was correct.
The only question I have at this point is: How much lower can the GOP stoop? If the line can’t be drawn at sexual misconduct against teenage girls, where can it be drawn?