Sen.-elect Doug Jones agreed with the White House that President Donald Trump should not step aside due to years-old sexual misconduct allegations that have resurfaced after they were a linchpin issue dogging the president during his 2016 campaign.
“I don’t think the president ought to resign at this point,” Jones said on the Sunday morning news show circuit. “We’ll see how things go, but certainly those allegations are not new, and he was elected with those allegations at front center.”
Jones’ opponent in the Alabama Senate special election last Monday, Roy Moore, had been accused of sexual misconduct, including molesting a 14-year-old girl when he was in his 30s.
The allegations against Moore fueled Jones’ election-night upset, making him the first Democrat to win a Senate seat in Alabama since 1992.
Watch: Former Congresswomen Reflect on Sexual Harassment Issues
But Jones downplayed the renewed calls for the president to resign over his own allegations, saying they were from years ago.
“I think we need to move on and not get distracted by those issues,” Jones said. “Let’s get on with the real issues that are facing people of this country right now.”
Jones has said he intends to reach across the aisle to work with Republicans on some issues if the need arises.
During the heat of the campaign in Alabama, Trump called the 63-year-old former U.S. prosecutor “terrible” on matters relating to crime and border security and warned Alabamians that Jones would be a “puppet” of Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer.
But the two had a “very gracious” phone conversation after Jones’ win that both hope will be the foundation for a solid relationship moving forward.
White House legislative director Marc Short told The Associated Press the administration was eager to see whether Jones will “actually work to represent the people of Alabama” in a bipartisan fashion or fall in line with liberal Democrats to try to block action from the 51-49 GOP Senate majority.
“We hope that, frankly, Doug Jones will help us change the climate here in Washington,” Short said.
“I’m going to consider anything,” Jones said Sunday.
He plans to avoid conventional labels — progressive, conservative, liberal — and instead wants to be known as a “Doug Jones Democrat,” he said.