President Trump finally came out and said, via Twitter, what everyone already knew: He supports Roy Moore.
Later on Monday, Trump went one step further and personally called Moore.
In a statement, the White House said, “The President had a positive call with Judge Roy Moore during which they discussed the state of the Alabama Senate race and the President endorsed Judge Moore’s campaign.”
Moore, who is neck and neck in polls with Democrat Doug Jones in the unpredictable special Senate election in Alabama on December 12, has been accused by several women of inappropriate sexual relationships while they were teenagers. Proceeding with a playbook that recalls Trump’s after the Access Hollywood tape came out last year, Moore has vehemently denied every allegation, maintaining that every woman who has come forward is lying. In a state consistently hostile to Democrats, this defiant strategy has been at least somewhat effective; a poll released on Sunday showed that 71 percent of Alabama Republicans believe the charges are made up.
After the initial allegations came out, almost every major national Republican disavowed Moore — but not President Trump. The man who has now taken to denying observable reality about his own past with women made it clear to his advisers that he was skeptical of Moore’s accusers. “Roy Moore denies it,” he said. “And, by the way, he gives a total denial. And I do have to say, 40 years is a long time.”
Still, the White House hadn’t explicitly offered the divisive Republican its support, though Trump has knocked Doug Jones on Twitter and Kellyanne Conway gave Moore a quasi-endorsement on Fox & Friends in November.
Though Trump has said he will not campaign personally for Moore, he is holding a rally this Friday in Pensacola, Florida, which is close to the Alabama state border, and Moore has encouraged his supporters to attend. It was only a matter of time before Trump stopped playing coy and expressed his true affinity for the man who has been disbarred twice for flouting federal law.
Meanwhile, Establishment Republican disgust for Moore has already waned, just as it did with Trump in 2016. On Sunday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who had previously called for Moore “unfit for office” and had entertained the notion of not seating him in the Senate at all, said he would “let the people of Alabama make the call.”