Update 6:23 p.m. | Sen. Mike Lee, one of the first senators to endorse Roy Moore in Alabama Senate race, has requested that the Moore campaign remove his image from the campaigns fundraising emails. Friday night he also rescinded his endorsement.
“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,” Lee tweeted Friday, following allegations of Moore’s sexual conduct with minors. GOP Sen. Steve Daines of Montana also rescinded his endorsement within minutes of Lee’s tweet.
Moore, the former Alabama Supreme Court chief justice, has a fundraising email that features images of Lee, and the GOP Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and Rand Paul of Kentucky. The trio were early backers of Moore, who is now facing a wave of criticism after a Washington Post report alleged Moore initiated sexual encounters with teenage girls in the late 1970s.
Lee’s spokesman confirmed the request, first reported by the Hill. His spokesman said Moore’s campaign did not ask Lee’s permission to use him image on the fundraising emails. He declined to answer when the request was sent to the campaign, and whether Moore’s campaign had responded.
Lee is one of a score of GOP senators who reacted to the Post report by noting Moore should step down as the GOP nominee in the Alabama Senate race if the allegations are true.
But Moore is not backing down. The Moore campaign sent a fundraising email, also featuring the images of the three senators, shortly after the story broke Thursday.
“I will NEVER GIVE UP the fight!” Moore said in the fundraising pitch.
Lee endorsed Moore in October, and spoke with the former chief justice on the same night that Moore won the GOP runoff against Sen. Luther Strange, who was appointed to the seat when Jeff Sessions became Attorney General.
“Alabamians have the chance to send a proven, conservative fighter to the United States Senate and I am more than ready to welcome a trusted ally,” Lee said when he endorsed Moore. “Judge Moore’s tested reputation of integrity is exactly what we need in Washington, D.C. in order to pass conservative legislation and protect the liberty of all Americans.”