How Senate Republicans Have Reacted to the Roy Moore Allegations
The chamber Mr. Moore hopes to join has turned away from him, with most Republican senators saying he should end his campaign if the accusations are true.
Allegations that Roy S. Moore, the Republican nominee for a Senate seat in Alabama, pursued sexual and romantic relationships with teenagers while he was in his 30s have upended a race in a state that has not had a Democratic senator since 1997.
While Alabama Republicans, by and large, defended Mr. Moore against what many of them described as a partisan plot, national officials have reacted with shock and disgust. And the shift away from him has been particularly pronounced in the chamber he hopes to join.
The National Republican Senate Committee is no longer raising money for Mr. Moore, and most Republican senators say he should end his campaign if the allegations — reported by The Washington Post on Thursday and based on more than 30 sources, including four accusers quoted by name — are true.
Here is a roundup of how the Senate’s 52 Republicans have responded.
‘I can no longer endorse his candidacy’
Four senators — John McCain of Arizona, Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, Steve Daines of Montana and Mike Lee of Utah — unequivocally renounced Mr. Moore.
Mr. McCain was the first, tweeting on Thursday that Mr. Moore should step aside.
Mr. Lee tweeted on Friday, “Having read the detailed description of the incidents, as well as the response from Judge Moore and his campaign, I can no longer endorse his candidacy for the US Senate.” Mr. Daines and Mr. Cassidy quickly followed.
A fifth senator, Bob Corker of Tennessee, wrote that Mr. Moore should never have been nominated to begin with.
‘If true …’
By far the most common reaction has been a call for Mr. Moore to step aside if the allegations are true. Thirty-one senators have said this, though none have explained what criteria they would use to judge the truth of the accusations.
If the allegations are true, “I don’t think this candidacy is sustainable,” John Cornyn of Texas said, “but we believe in a presumption of innocence until proven guilty, and so I think it’s important for the facts to come out.” Texas’ other senator, Ted Cruz, called the reports “serious and troubling” but added, “Judge Moore has the right to respond.”
Lamar Alexander, John Barrasso, Michael B. Enzi, Joni Ernst, Cory Gardner, Orrin G. Hatch, John Hoeven, James M. Inhofe, Ron Johnson, James Lankford, Mitch McConnell, Jerry Moran, Lisa Murkowski, David Perdue, Jim Risch, Pat Roberts, Mike Rounds, Marco Rubio, Richard C. Shelby, Dan Sullivan, John Thune and Thom Tillis also made “if true” statements.
Others, though they included the caveat, seemed more inclined to jettison Mr. Moore. Jeff Flake of Arizona said Mr. Moore should step aside “if there is any shred of truth to the allegations,” and Susan Collins of Maine and Ben Sasse of Nebraska spoke similarly. Patrick J. Toomey of Pennsylvania and Tim Scott of South Carolina said they found the accusations more believable than Mr. Moore’s denials; Rob Portman of Ohio said he assumed they were true because the women making them were on the record. And Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said Mr. Moore “should be dealt with very severely” if he behaved as reported.
“Any person who believes these allegations are not that bad,” Mr. Graham told ABC’s affiliate in Columbia, S.C., “I don’t want them to be a part of the Republican Party.”
‘Start thinking about who they’ll write in’
It is too late to replace Mr. Moore on the ballot, but Ms. Murkowski, Mr. Sasse and Mr. Toomey have floated the idea of a write-in campaign — perhaps by Luther Strange, who holds the seat Mr. Moore is seeking but lost the Republican primary. (Last week Mr. Strange called the report “very, very disturbing” and said he would later have “something to say” about whether he would re-enter the race.)
“If there’s an ounce of truth to any of this, Roy Moore has no place in public life and ought to drop out immediately,” Mr. Sasse said. “Alabamians should start thinking about who they’ll write in.”
But “a write-in is very difficult, let’s face it,” Mr. Toomey acknowledged. “There’s no easy solution to this.”
‘They’re very, very old charges’
Only one senator, Roger Wicker of Mississippi, explicitly declined to suggest that Mr. Moore step down, even with the “if true” caveat. Why, he asked, didn’t the women who spoke to The Post come forward earlier?
“They’re very, very old charges,” Mr. Wicker told Mississippi News Now. “You have to ask, and I think people in Alabama will be asking, why this hasn’t come out in the 40 years’ time with him running for so many offices.”
Fourteen senators — Roy Blunt, John Boozman, Richard M. Burr, Shelley Moore Capito, Thad Cochran, Tom Cotton, Michael D. Crapo, Deb Fischer, Charles E. Grassley, Dean Heller, Johnny Isakson, John Kennedy, Rand Paul and Todd Young — have not responded publicly to the allegations. But Mr. Blunt is no longer attending a fund-raiser for Mr. Moore on Friday.