Sen. Al Franken said Republican Roy Moore — who has been accused of sexual misconduct with teenage girls — is running for the U.S. Senate “with the full support of his party.” That’s not entirely accurate.
Moore has the support of President Donald Trump and the Republican National Committee. But he doesn’t have the support of the National Republican Senatorial Committee and numerous Republican senators.
In a speech from the Senate floor, Franken announced that he would resign “in the coming weeks” after several women accused him of improper behavior, including groping and unwanted kissing. “Some of the allegations against me are simply not true; others, I remember very differently,” the Democratic senator said in his resignation speech.
Franken, Dec. 7: Nevertheless, today I am announcing that in the coming weeks I will be resigning as a member of the United States Senate. I, of all people, am aware that there is some irony in the fact that I am leaving, while a man who has bragged on tape about his history of sexual assault sits in the Oval Office, and a man who has repeatedly preyed on young girls campaigns for the Senate with the — with the full support of his party.
In a Nov. 9 report that scrambled the Alabama Senate race, Leigh Corfman told the Washington Post that Moore initiated sexual contact with her when she was 14 years old and Moore was 32. Since then, several other women have stepped forward to accuse Moore of improper behavior when they were teenagers. Moore has repeatedly denied the allegations.
The allegations against Moore have split the Republican Party, contrary to Franken’s claim that the GOP candidate has the “full support of his party.”
The Republican National Committee initially withdrew its support for Moore, pulling out of a joint fundraising agreement that it had with the candidate. But it reversed course and agreed to help Moore, providing at least $170,000 in funding so far. The reversal came on the same day that the president called Moore and endorsed him.
Still, there are those in the party who oppose Moore’s candidacy.
The National Republican Senatorial Committee — a party committee that supports Republican senators and candidates — announced it would not help Moore raise money, and NRSC chairman, Sen. Cory Gardner, urged Moore to withdraw from the race.
“If he refuses to withdraw and wins, the Senate should vote to expel him, because he does not meet the ethical and moral requirements of the United States Senate,” Gardner said in a Nov. 13 statement.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell initially urged Moore to drop out of the race, too, saying he believed Moore’s accusers. On Dec. 3, McConnell appeared to soften his opposition during an interview on ABC’s “This Week.” Asked if Moore should be in the Senate, McConnell said, “I’m going to let the people of Alabama make the call.” Two days later, the Republican leader said he had “no change of heart” on Moore’s candidacy.
After the RNC reversed its position on Moore, Republican Sen. Ben Sasse criticized the RNC for making a “bad decision,” and warned the NRSC not to follow suit. Sasse threatened to stop fundraising for and donating to the NRSC if it supported Moore. But Gardner, the NRSC chairman, reiterated on Dec. 7 that the committee “will never endorse” Moore.
In addition to McConnell, Sasse and Gardner, Alabama Sen. Richard Shelby disclosed on Nov. 28 that he cast an absentee ballot for a write-in candidate that he would only describe as “a distinguished Republican … not Judge Moore.”
More recently, Sen. Jeff Flake tweeted an image of a $100 check he wrote on Dec. 5 to Moore’s Democratic opponent, Doug Jones, writing the words “country over party” in the memo field.
In all, at least 16 of the 52 Republican senators have said they do not support Moore, according to a list compiled by New York magazine.