Trump renews support for embattled Senate candidate

Republican candidate for the US Senate in Alabama, Roy Moore, speaks at a campaign rally in Fairhope, Alabama on Sept 25, 2017. PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON (AFP) - President Donald Trump on Sunday (Nov 26) redoubled his support for embattled Senate candidate Roy Moore, ignoring the allegations of sexual harassment plaguing Moore's Alabama campaign and branding his opponent as weak on crime, the military and immigration.

In an early-morning tweet, Trump added that for Alabamians to elect Moore's Democratic rival, Doug Jones, in a special election next month "would be a disaster!"

Many members of Trump's Republican Party have withdrawn support for Moore, who is now 70, following recent allegations by several women that while in his 30s he molested or harassed teenage girls as young as 14.

Some Republicans have suggested that if elected to the US Senate, Moore should be removed.

Mitch McConnell, the Senate Republican leader, has called for Moore to drop out, saying, "I believe the women." .

Losing proposition

McConnell reportedly has pleaded with Trump to stay out of the Alabama race, lest Moore's election sully the party's name ahead of next year's midterm elections.

One Republican senator and sometime Trump critic, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, said Sunday that having Moore on the ballot was a lose-lose proposition for the party.

"If he wins ... it becomes a story every day about whether or not you believe the women or Roy Moore. If you lose, you give the Senate seat" to a Democrat, he said on CNN.

But Trump - himself the object of allegations of sexual misconduct by several women during his presidential campaign - on Sunday shrugged off such appeals.

He tweeted that "the last thing" Republicans need in the closely divided Senate is a Democratic "puppet who is WEAK on Crime, WEAK on the Border. Bad for our Military and our great Vets. Bad for our 2nd Amendment. AND WANTS TO RAISES (sic) TAXES TO THE SKY."

Despite the multiple allegations against Moore - he reportedly was even banned from an Alabama mall for repeatedly bothering teen girls - Trump has defended him.

"Forty years is a long time," the president told reporters Tuesday (Nov 21) on the White House lawn. "He says it didn't happen. You have to listen to him, also."

Moore has denied any wrongdoing and insisted he will contest the December special election.

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