Former Alabama Supreme Court judge and current US Senate candidate Roy Moore has always been a controversial figure.
After all, this is a man whose homophobic, racist, and anti-Muslim views earned him a reputation as a bigot even by the standards of Alabama Republicans.
But despite being twice removed from the bench for ethical violations, Moore has risen through this party’s ranks to become a figure of national prominence.
In September, he defeated Trump-backed candidate Luther Strange in a run-off election and became the GOP’s nominee to fill the Senate seat vacated by Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
During his campaign, Moore brandished a gun onstage, blamed the Sandy Hook massacre on a lack of school prayer, and called for the impeachment of judges who have
Astonishingly, it seems these views have only served to increase Moore’s popularity with his base.
But now, the 70-year-old finds himself at the heart of a scandal that may cost him the support of even his most fervent supporters.
The Washington Post has interviewed four women who say they were subjected to unwanted sexual advances by Moore in the late 1970s and early 1980s, when he was in his thirties and they were in their teens.
Leigh Corfman tells the newspaper she was just 14 when Moore groped her and forced her to touch his genitals at his home in rural Alabama.
“I wanted it over with — I wanted out,” she remembers thinking.
“Please just get this over with. Whatever this is, just get it over.”
Three women have independently claimed that Moore kissed them, inappropriately touched them, and plied them with alcohol when they were between the ages of 15 and 17.
Moore has denied the allegations in a statement issued by his campaign team:
“These allegations are completely false and are a desperate political attack by the National Democrat Party and the Washington Post on this campaign,” the statement reads.
Adopting the favorite counter-argument of Trump-era Republicans, a rep for Moore added, “This garbage is the very definition of fake news.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and other prominent Republicans have stated that Moore should step aside if there’s any truth to the allegations.
Others, however, have mounted absurd defenses of Moore, including Alabama state auditor Jim Ziegler, who went viral with this asinine argument:
“Take Joseph and Mary. Mary was a teenager and Joseph was an adult carpenter. They became parents of Jesus,” Ziegler told the Washington Examiner.
Currently, Moore has no plans to bring an end to his campaign.
He is set to face off against Democratic challenger Doug Jones in a special election on December 12.