Republican former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney slammed Republican Senate nominee Roy Moore of Alabama, rebuking the candidate accused of sexual assault and harassment on the same day President Donald Trump embraced him.
“Roy Moore in the US Senate would be a stain on the GOP and on the nation. Leigh Corfman and other victims are courageous heroes. No vote, no majority is worth losing our honor, our integrity,” Romney tweeted Monday in reference to the women who have come forward accusing Moore of sexual assault and harassment.
Moore responded, “Either @MittRomney has lost his courage or he doesn’t care about truth anymore. Sad day!
America’s reawakening was led by @realDonaldTrump, not you Mitt.
Multiple women, including Corfman in an interview with The Washington Post, have accused Moore of pursing relationships with them when they were teenagers and he was in his early 30s.
Trump had vouched for Moore on Twitter earlier Monday and later made a phone call to the Alabama judge with a history of incendiary comments to offer his endorsement.
Moore emerged victorious earlier this year against other Republicans vying for the Senate seat vacated when Trump appointed Jeff Sessions to be the attorney general. The former judge was not embraced in the primary by the national Republican establishment and Trump, who campaigned for Republican Sen. Luther Strange, who had been appointed to fill the seat.
Once Moore sealed the nomination, Trump backed him, while other members of his party declined to do so. After the November 9 report in The Washington Post and subsequent allegations about Moore’s past, Republicans in Washington said the judge should step aside from the race.
Moore has denied any improper behavior and suggested that the media and his political enemies are waging a wide-ranging campaign to discredit him.
In recent weeks, Trump stopped just short of fully embracing Moore, and then on Monday, the President made it official.
The election in Alabama between Moore and Democrat Doug Jones is set for December 12.
On Sunday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said, “I think we’re going to let the people of Alabama decide a week from Tuesday who they want to send to the Senate, and then we’ll address the matter appropriately.”
Romney’s rebuke of Moore and Republicans backing him echoed his denunciations of Trump during last year’s presidential campaign. Romney emerged as one of his party’s most staunch critics of Trump’s approach, both in tone and on policy fronts like trade.
The two reached something of a detente following Trump’s stunning electoral victory, dining together in New York as Trump reportedly considered Romney for the role of secretary of state, which he ended up offering to Rex Tillerson.
Trump on Monday headed for Utah, where he rolled back an Obama-era declaration of a national monument there. On the trip, Trump said he hoped Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch would opt to seek re-election next year.
Should Hatch decide to retire, some have called on Romney publicly to make a bid for the seat in the state he now calls home.
CNN reported Romney was strongly considering mounting a bid if Hatch bows out.