White House struggles to clarify Trump’s silence on Moore allegations

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As badual misconduct allegations sweep politics, President Trump is staying quiet on the ladies who’ve accused him and Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore of harbadment or badault, however attacking Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.). (Jenny Starrs/The Washington Post)

Amid a rising variety of badual harbadment allegations towards Roy Moore, White House officers tried to stroll a effective line — acknowledging the seriousness of the allegations with out outright calling for the Republican Senate candidate in Alabama to step down.

Nine girls have accused Moore of a variety of inappropriate conduct, together with pursuing them once they had been youngsters, groping and badault.

President Trump — not often one for holding his fireplace — has not tweeted or spoken publicly about Moore since The Washington Post first reported on the accusations towards him. His sole touch upon the topic got here via White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who mentioned earlier this month that Trump believes that “if these allegations are true, Judge Moore will do the right thing and step aside.” Later, Trump informed reporters, “I’ll stick with my statement for now, but I’ll have further comment as we go down the road.”

On Sunday, requested about why the president has not condemned Moore, Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney informed NBC’s Andrea Mitchell that Trump wished to go away the choice to Alabama voters.

Trump’s response stands in stark distinction to his tweets about Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.), which got here inside hours of Franken’s acknowledgment of badual misconduct towards Los Angeles radio host Leann Tweeden years in the past. Why the totally different response?

“Franken admits it, and Roy Moore denies it,” Mulvaney mentioned.

“Do you believe that the women who have come out against Roy Moore are credible?” Mitchell requested.

“I believe they’re credible. I don’t know who to believe,” Mulvaney mentioned.

“But if they’re credible, why wouldn’t you believe them?”

“Andrea, I run the Office of Management and Budget in Washington, D.C.” Mulvaney replied, suggesting that neither he nor a Washington journalist like Mitchell may choose the state of affairs from 700 miles away.

“Some of the stories were brought out by Alabama journalists,” Mitchell identified.

Mulvaney repeated himself: “Folks who vote in the Alabama election can ultimately decide.”

Over on ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos,” White House Legislative Affairs Director Marc Short repeatedly dodged related questions. He mentioned that the White House has “serious concerns” in regards to the allegations however that voters in Alabama needs to be those to determine.

When Stephanopoulos requested whether or not Trump believed Moore’s accusers, Short mentioned: “If he did not believe that the women’s accusations were credible, he would be down campaigning for Roy Moore. He has not done that.”

Several Republican leaders, together with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky), have referred to as for Moore to drop out of the race. On Sunday, Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) added himself to that record.

“The allegations are stronger than the denial, and Roy Moore should find something else to do,” Scott mentioned on “Fox News Sunday.” He added: “Which is my way of suggesting he should not be in the race.”

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