Politico reports that President Donald Trump's near-endorsement of the sexually-accused Alabama Republican senate candidate Roy Moore came after intense conversations with senior Republicans and White House aides.
The White House advisers told Politico that the president "drew parallels between Moore’s predicament and the one he faced just over a year ago when, during the final weeks of the 2016 campaign, Trump confronted a long line of women who accused him of harassment. He adamantly denied the claims."
Speaking with reporters as he departed for Mar-a-Lago on Tuesday, Trump couldn't have come closer to saying that he believed Roy Moore's declaration that all nine of his accusers are lying. In Trump's typically incoherent, repetitive way of speaking, he said: “Let me just tell you, Roy Moore denies it. That's all I can say. He denies it. And, by the way, he totally denies it,”
“I mean, if you look at what is really going on, and you look at all the things that have happened over the last 48 hours, he totally denies it,” Trump said. “He says it didn’t happen. And, you know, you have to listen to him also. You're talking about, he said 40 years ago this did not happen.”
Crushing any optimism that the White House would remain neutral or side with leading Republicans who have called for Moore to drop out of the race, Trump bashed Democratic candidate Doug Jones.
“I can tell you one thing for sure: We don't need a liberal person in there, a Democrat — Jones. I've looked at his record. It's terrible on crime. It's terrible on the border. It's terrible on the military. I can tell you for a fact, we do not need somebody that's going to be bad on crime, bad on borders, bad with the military, bad for the Second Amendment,” he said.
Tuesday late-night hosts addressed sexual misconduct allegations against both Charlie Rose and Roy Moore. CBS' Stephen Colbert led the parade, saying: "If all the sexual assault allegations coming out of the entertainment or the news industry have got you down, you can always take a break and distract yourself with the sexual assault allegations coming out of Washington.”
“For almost two weeks, Trump has faced repeated questions about his position on Roy Moore, and for two weeks Trump has done everything he could to avoid answering them,” NBC's Seth Meyers said. “Since the news about Moore first broke, we’ve been waiting to find out if Trump could summon at least a shred of decency and disavow a man accused of preying on teenage girls.
“Today, we do found that the old saying is true,” the host said. “Sexual predators of a feather flock together.”
“In fairness to Trump, who are you going to believe?,” Meyers asked. “Nine women who don’t know each other and whose stories have been corroborated by dozens of independent sources, or a guy who looks like the Marlboro Man’s deadbeat dad?”
Myers also addressed Trump's Tuesday argument that Dem. Doug Jones is soft on crime. The Guardian recaps: "“Soft on crime? You’re siding with an accused child molester over a guy who prosecuted the KKK.”
Related: President Trump and accusations of sexual misconduct: The complete list The Washington Post