Updated 5:27 p.m. | President Donald Trump broke his silence Tuesday on Republican Roy Moore and the sexual assault allegations hindering his Alabama Senate bid but isn’t ruling out campaigning for the embattled candidate.
“I can tell you one thing for sure: We don’t need a liberal person in there, a Democrat,” Trump said over the loud hum of Marine One’s engine as he left for Florida.
Trump also said the allegations against Moore are several decades old.
“I mean, Roy Moore denies it. By the way, he gives a total denial,” Trump said. “And I do have to say: 40 years is a long time. … The women are Trump voters. Most of them are Trump voters. All you can do is you have to do what you have to do. He totally denies it.”
The allegations may not be enough to keep President Trump from campaigning in Alabama for the twice-ousted former state supreme court judge.
“I’ll be letting you know next week,” the president said. “But I can tell you we don’t need somebody soft on crime like [Democratic candidate Doug] Jones. … Roy Moore denies it. … He totally denies it.”
Jones would be “terrible” on issues like crime, the U.S.-Mexico border, and the military, Trump said.
Jones is a former prosecutor known for trying two Ku Klux Klan perpetrators of Baptist church bombing that killed four African-American girls.
“My record speaks for itself,” said Jones at a Tuesday press conference after Trump’s comments. “…We got three weeks to go, people are going to make their judgments.”
Jones declined to directly answer a question about whether the GOP candidate, Roy Moore, is a sexual predator but did say he believes the several women who have accused Moore of misconduct.
Asked about sexual assault allegations against Democratic Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota, Trump said he wants the senator to “speak for himself.”
As he left the White House, Trump told reporters he only heard about sexual misconduct allegations against Michigan Democratic Rep. John Conyers Jr. “two minutes ago.”
Trump, who also has been accused of sexual misconduct by multiple women, told reporters he is “very happy a lot of these things are coming out.” He was referring to the string of sexual misconduct allegations against prominent politicians, Hollywood figures and journalists.
Asked if Congress should make public all records relating to lawmakers and sexual misconduct allegations and settlements, the president responded: “I do.”
The president, first lady Melania Trump and son Barron Trump boarded Marine One. The presidential helicopter lifted off for Joint Base Andrews a few minutes later, where the Trumps will take Air Force One to Florida.
Moore’s campaign was once again defiant at a Tuesday press conference on the State Capitol steps. His lawyers attempted to discredit Leigh Corfman, the woman who alleges that Moore made sexual advances toward her when she was 14 years old. Spokesmen ignored reporters’ questions, with Moore adviser Dean Young dismissing the allegations as “Jerry Springer stuff.”
“So you all can quit asking us questions, quit being rude,” Young said.
Simone Pathé contributed to this report.