While Roy Moore vowed to stay in the race for U.S. Senate from Alabama, as he called new allegations of sexual misconduct against him a ‘witch hunt,’ more GOP Senators said it was time for Moore to drop his election bid, with one key Republican going so far as to say that if Moore is elected in a December special election, then the Senate should vote to expel him.
“If he refuses to withdraw and wins, the Senate should vote to expel him, because he does not meet the ethics and moral requirements of the United States Senate,” said Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO), who runs the campaign arm of Senate Republicans.
“I think he ought to seriously think about dropping out,” said Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL), the senior Senator from the Yellowhammer State.
Earlier in the day, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made clear that Moore should quit, telling reporters in Kentucky that Moore “should step aside” because of stories of sexual misconduct involving girls of high school age.
Monday brought new accusations against Moore, as a woman came forward to say that Moore had sexually assaulted her when she was in high school, even producing her yearbook, which was signed by, “Roy Moore, D.A.”
Beverly Young Nelson, who said she voted for President Donald Trump last year, gave her statement alongside lawyer Gloria Allred, as Nelson charged that Moore assaulted her in his car when she was 16, after offering to give her a ride home from a restaurant where she was working at the time.
The involvement of Allred swiftly brought charges from Moore supporters that he was the victim of a smear campaign; Moore’s campaign echoed that assessment, saying Allred “is a sensationalist leading a witch hunt.”
In a series of fundraising emails and statements from his campaign on Monday, Moore gave no sign that he was going to get out of the race.
But while Moore remained defiant, more and more of his possible future colleagues were weighing in against him.
“Roy Moore should immediately drop out of the race,” said Sen. Todd Young (R-IN), who also raised the specter of expelling Moore if he wins the December 12 special election.
“I think we should expel him if he gets here, but I don’t think it will come to that,” said Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ).
“I stand with the Majority Leader on this,” said Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT). “These are serious and disturbing accusations.”
“I did not find his denials to be convincing and believe that he should withdraw from the Senate race in Alabama,” said Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME).
“I believe the accusations against Roy Moore are disturbing and, if true, disqualifying,” said Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), the second-ranking Republican in the U.S. Senate, as Cornyn moved to “withdraw my endorsement.”
“As it stands, I can’t urge the people of Alabama to support a campaign in the face of these charges, without a serious persuasive demonstration that the charges are not true,” said Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX).
National Democrats were trying to stay out of the firestorm in Alabama.
“It’s an Alabama race,” said Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer. “They’re running it,” as Schumer gave off the feeling that he wanted no hints that national Democrats were involved in helping Democratic candidate Doug Jones at all.