The wife of Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore said Friday her husband won’t quit the race in the face of mounting allegations that he sexually assaulted young women years ago.
Standing on the white marble steps of the state Capitol, a defiant Kayla Moore was joined by several dozen women at a rally supporting Moore as she spoke in defense of her husband.
The couple has been married for more than 32 years, and Kayla Moore said her Army veteran husband has always been a gentleman.
‘He will not step down. He will not stop fighting for the people of Alabama,’ said Kayla Moore, who did not take questions.
Standing across the street, a single protester held a sign that said: ‘Roy Moore is a pedophile.’
The news conference was the second in two days held by Moore’s supporters. His campaign has been in turmoil since the Washington Post published a story last week detailing the accounts of three women who claim Moore pursued them while they were teenagers, as young as 14, and he was in his 30s.
At least six more women have since spoken out with allegations of their own, most recently Tina Johnson, who appeared on the talk show Megyn Kelly Today this morning, recounting how in 1991, when she was 28 and seeking Moore’s legal assistance in a custody case, he allegedly grabbed her behind while she was leaving his office.
‘The day he’d done that, he scarred me for life,’ Johnson told Kelly. ‘I was vulnerable from the start, and he was in a position of power. I think that he wanted to take my power so he could feel powerful.’
Two recent polls show Moore trailing Democrat Doug Jones ahead of the December 12 special election, with Fox News releasing one on Thursday showing Jones ahead with 50 per cent to 42 per cent for Moore.
Kayla Moore challenged the Post’s reporting on her husband’s past misconduct.
‘The Washington Post has called everybody that I have ever known for the last 40 years. They have called everybody my husband has ever known for the last 40 years,’ she said. ‘They print whatever anyone says without checking to even see if it is correct.’
She also noted that the paper endorsed Hillary Clinton over President Donald Trump in last year’s election, accusing it of being part of a concerted effort to push back against anti-establishment conservative candidates.
All of the very same people who were attacking President Trump are also attacking us,’ she said.
The Post’s editorial board, which endorsed Clinton, works separately from the reporters and editors who work on news stories, as is common at many newspapers.
Asked about Moore, White House legislative director Marc Short on Friday said the White House has said Trump had already previously backed Moore’s opponent, Luther Strange, in the primary contest and that Moore’s explanations ‘so far have not been satisfactory.’
At this point, we believe it is up to the people of Alabama to make a decision,’ Short told CNN in an interview shortly after Moore’s wife spoke. “The president chose a different candidate.’
Moore, 70, has ignored mounting calls from Washington Republicans concerned that if he stays in the race against Jones he may not only lose a seat they were sure to win but also may do significant damage to the party’s brand among women nationwide as they prepared for a difficult midterm election season.
Speaking with reporters in Birmingham on Thursday night, Jones said it was ‘really unfortunate’ that state GOP leaders had chosen to discount the allegations of women and stick with Moore.
‘One of the problems in this state is that people continue to put a political party above what is in the best interest of the state and what’s in the best interest of the country,’ said Jones.
But women who joined Kayla Moore at the rally said the accusations of sexual misconduct don’t fit with the man they know.
‘I do not recognize the Roy Moore these ladies are describing,’ Ann Eubank, a longtime fixture in Republican politics.
On Thursday, Moore appeared alongside more than a dozen religious leaders who took turns bashing the Christian conservative’s many critics – especially his female accusers.
Emotions ran high for some Moore supporters. Following an appearance by more than a dozen evangelicals who spoke on stage in support of Moore, some shouted down journalists who attempted to ask Moore about the women’s accusations.
‘You are the fake, lying news from the swamp!’ yelled one woman. Minister and longtime anti-abortion activist Flip Benham grabbed the camera of an Associated Press journalist and repeatedly said: ‘Did you stop beating your wife, yes or no?’
President Donald Trump, through a spokeswoman, called the allegations of sexual misconduct against the former judge ‘very troubling.’