As the president and the largest GOP organization face scrutiny for supporting an Alabama Senate candidate accused of sexual misconduct with minors, some top North Carolina Republicans have called on him to drop out of the race while others are staying silent.
Roy Moore, 70, is a former Alabama chief justice who’s running for Alabama’s open U.S. Senate seat and is accused by several women of a range of misconduct, from inappropriate touching to sexual assault. Moore has denied the allegations.
After initially pulling financial support for Moore, the Republican National Committee recently reversed course and revealed that it will once again back Moore in his tight race against Democrat Doug Jones. Also Monday, President Donald Trump tweeted his support of Moore, saying the GOP needs his vote on “stopping crime, illegal immigration, border wall,” and other issues.
Their support of Moore comes as a growing number of Republicans have condemned Moore and some – including Sens. John McCain of Arizona, Mike Lee of Utah and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky – have withdrawn support or said Moore should withdraw from the race.
Response to the allegations has included a social media campaign started by a Raleigh lawyer who identifies as Republican.
Both of North Carolina’s U.S. senators – Richard Burr and Thom Tillis – have said Moore should immediately withdraw from the race.
So far, a state House member from Eastern North Carolina has been the legislature’s most vocal supporter of Roy Moore. State Rep. Michael Speciale of New Bern posted on his Facebook page last week that he “wholeheartedly” supports a group’s resolution backing Moore. Speciale said he’ll continue to support Moore until the accusations “are proven.”
The N.C. Democratic Party on Monday called on the state’s top Republicans – Lt. Gov. Dan Forest, state Senate leader Phil Berger and state House Speaker Tim Moore – to take a position on Moore.
“Roy Moore is an accused child molester who doesn’t belong in public office, yet NC GOP representatives are publicly championing their support of him,” NCDP Executive Director Kimberly Reynolds said in a statement.
“The public deserves to know if our state’s top Republicans stand behind their party and their president in support of Roy Moore,” Reynolds said.
But several prominent Republicans have opted to not comment on the race.
The N&O on Tuesday asked Forest, Berger and Tim Moore for their views of the Alabama senate nominee. By 3:00 Tuesday afternoon, none had responded.
Dallas Woodhouse, executive director of the N.C. GOP, wrote an email response to a reporter on Tuesday.
“We do not have a position on how the people of Alabama should select their U.S. Senator,” Woodhouse wrote.
On the RNC’s decision to support Moore, Woodhouse said “we don’t have an opinion.”
Jobs at stake?
Alabama and North Carolina are reportedly the two finalists for a joint Toyota-Mazda auto manufacturing plant, which would potentially create 4,000 jobs.
On Tuesday, Jones suggested that the controversy surrounding Moore could prompt Toyota and other employers to look elsewhere, AL.com reported.
A business consultant told NPR he didn’t expect the election outcome to affect the Toyota decision.