A top White House official said President Trump would be in Alabama campaigning for Roy Moore if he did not believe allegations of sexual misconduct against him.
“If he did not believe the women’s accusations were credible, he would be down campaigning for Roy Moore. He has not done that. He has concerns about the accusations,” White House director of legislative affairs Marc Short said on ABC’s “This Week.”
But Short refused to say directly whether Trump supports his fellow Republican in the Dec. 12 special election.
Multiple women have accused Moore of assaulting them or pursuing sexual or romantic contact with them when they were teenagers.
Moore has denied wrongdoing.
While suggesting Trump found the allegations credible, Short also questioned why they became public decades after the conduct occurred and shortly before an election.
“We’re uncomfortable with the explanations Roy Moore has given to date,” he said, adding Trump “has concerns about the accusations. But he’s also concerned that the accusations are 38 years old. Roy Moore has been in public service for decades. The accusations did not arise until a month before (the) election.”
Trump backed Moore’s primary opponent, Sen. Luther Strange, but said after the primary he’d back Moore.
Short refused to say whether Trump is still backing him.
“I don’t think you have seen him go down there and campaign for him. I don’t think you have seen him issue an endorsement. You’ve not seen him issue robocalls,” he said.
“I think he thinks that at this point, it’s best for the people of Alabama to make the decision for their state.”
Roy Moore has been accused of assaulting multiple women when they were teenagers.
But Republican Sen. Susan Collins said she hopes Alabama voters reject Moore, who is running against Democrat Doug Jones.
“My hope is that we won’t get to that point, and that the voters of Alabama will not elect Roy Moore. I’ve read his denials. I’ve listened to his radio interview. And I did not find him to be credible. As more and more allegations come forward, that adds to the weight of evidence against him,” the Maine senator said on “This Week.”
Collins said if Moore is elected, the Senate will be required to seat him, but the Ethics Committee could then launch an investigation.
“But, I hope that the good voters of Alabama decide not to send him to the United States Senate,” she said.
White House Office of Management and Budget director Mick Mulvaney defended Trump’s silence on the allegations against Moore.
“He doesn’t know who to believe. I think a lot of folks don’t,” he said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
Mulvaney said he personally considers the stories credible, but stopped short of saying he believes they are true.
“I believe they’re credible. I don’t know who to believe,” he said.
Pressed on why Trump has jumped to attack Democratic Sen. Al Franken but been silent on Moore, Mulvaney said, “Franken admits it and Roy Moore denies it. So I do think that puts them in two different categories.”
With Terence Cullen