Late last month I published a print column headlined, “The GOP tent shouldn’t be big enough for a cretin like Roy Moore.”
The basis for that conclusion was Moore’s long history of bigotry toward Muslims and hatred toward homosexuals. Not to mention his contempt for the equal application of religious liberties.
But despite these things Republicans, including top elected officials here in North Dakota, insisted on giving Moore the benefit of the doubt. “Let’s give him a chance,” Sen. John Hoeven told the Washington Post about Moore not so long ago. When I asked Congressman Kevin Cramer about Moore’s problems he said he didn’t know much about them, a claim which (as I wrote in my column) strains credulity.
Now the Washington Post has published the allegations of women claiming Moore sought romantic and even physical relationships with them when he was in his 30’s and they were younger than 18. One of the women says she was 14 when the incident happened. The age of consent in Alabama, where these events are said to have happened, is 16.
The women have gone on the record with their names. Their version of events are backed up with dozens of other interviews from people who had either contemporaneous knowledge of these incidents or learned of them long before Moore rose to national political prominence.
Moore and his hardcore supporters are claiming a conspiracy. They say this is an example of collusion between Democrats, the Post, and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos who owns that paper.
Meanwhile, Republicans nationally are still giving Moore the benefit of the doubt. They’re calling on him to resign, but with the caveat that the allegations must be proved true. Here’s Senator John Hoeven’s statement:
The allegations against Roy Moore are very serious and if true, he should step down as a candidate for the Senate.
— Senator John Hoeven (@SenJohnHoeven) November 9, 2017
“Like most Americans, the President believes we cannot allow a mere allegation, in this case one from many years ago, to destroy a person’s life,” White House press secretary Sarah Sanders has said in a statement about Moore. “The President also believes that if these allegations are true, Judge Moore will do the right thing and step aside,” she added.
The problem with this is that Republicans, and Trump in particular, weren’t so circumspect in their denunciations of former President Bill Clinton. In fact, Trump used Clinton’s accusers in his campaign. Trump supporters frequently referred to Bill Clinton as a “rapist” and described Hillary Clinton as complicit in covering them up.
The truth is that the multiple and credible accusations against Bill Clinton, which ranged from uncouth behavior to outright sexual assault, should have destroyed his political career. They didn’t, and that’s a travesty.
Moore, though, should be held to that same standard. These accusations against him are, much like the accusations against Clinton, extremely credible.
Republicans shouldn’t get to pick and choose which allegations they’re going to believe based on nothing other than the partisan affiliation of the accused.
It’s bad enough that Moore is a hate-filled bigot. It is a mark of shame for Republicans that he’s been allowed to associate himself with the GOP despite long and well-documented history of bigotry toward homosexuals and Muslims. But now there are reasons to believe that he may be a sexual predator to boot.
Enough is enough. Republicans must turn their backs on Moore.