U.S. President Donald Trump gave his backing to Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore at a Friday evening rally in Florida and cast doubt on the claims of one of the women who alleges Moore sexually assaulted her as a teenager.
Speaking at the rally just over the state line from Alabama, in Pensacola, Florida, Trump joined the Moore campaign in questioning the claims of one of the candidate’s alleged victims, Beverley Young Nelson, who on Friday said that she had added an inscription to a high school yearbook signed by Moore.
“Did you see what happened today? You know, the yearbook? Did you see that? There was a little mistake made,” said Trump. “She started writing things in the yearbook.” He went on to attack the credibility of her lawyer, Gloria Allred. “Any time you see her you know something’s gone wrong.”
Young has used the signature as evidence for her claim that Moore assaulted her in 1977, when he was working as an assistant district attorney and she was a 16-year-old waitress.
Moore has denied the allegations of sexual misconduct, blaiming the claims on a conspiracy by “lesbians, gays, bisexuals and socialists.”
The Daily Beast reported Wednesday that Trump has told confidants that he believes in Moore’s innocence, placing him at odds with senior Republicans such as House Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who have said they believe Moore’s accusers. McConnell has since moderated his stance, saying it was up to the Alabama voters to decide whether to vote for Moore.
At the rally, Trump also criticized Moore’s opponent, Democratic candidate Doug Jones, and said that Jones is “completely controlled by (House Minority Leader) Nancy Pelosi and (Senate Minority Leader) Chuck Schumer.”
“We want jobs, jobs, jobs, so get out and vote for Roy Moore,” said Trump, wrapping up his pitch.
Trump has initially been cautious about offering his full support for Moore, who has been accused of molesting a 14-year-old girl and sexually assaulting several other teenagers and women. But in recent days, the president has leant his full support to Moore, tweeting Friday: “LAST thing the Make America Great Again Agenda needs is a Liberal Democrat in Senate where we have so little margin for victory already. The Pelosi/Schumer Puppet Jones would vote against us 100% of the time. He’s bad on Crime, Life, Border, Vets, Guns & Military. VOTE ROY MOORE!”
Polls show the race uncharacteristically tight in the normally safe Republican seat, four days before the special election.