Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Monday said he now believes the women who accused Alabama US Senate candidate Roy Moore of sexual misconduct while they were teenagers — and that Moore should “step aside” in the race.
McConnell, the most powerful member of the US Senate, said last week Moore should step aside “if” the allegations from the women — one, Leigh Corfman, was 14 at the time — were true. He’s now changed his position.
Three other women told the Washington Post that Moore “pursued them” while he was in his early 30s — they say they were between 16 and 18. Those three women didn’t allege sexual contact. Moore has denied the allegations.
McConnell’s comments were made hours before another woman is set to accuse Moore in New York City at a news conference organized by lawyer Gloria Allred.
When asked on Monday if he believed the women, McConnell said, “I believe the women, yes.”
McConnell added, “I think he should step aside” — though, by the law, Moore cannot remove his name from the ballot because it’s too close to the December primary. There’s been pressure on Moore from some Republicans to step back from the race.
Moore responded on Twitter shortly after, saying, “The person who should step aside is @SenateMajLdr Mitch McConnell. He has failed conservatives and must be replaced. #DrainTheSwamp.”
And when asked about supporting a write-in campaign in lieu of Moore, McConnell said, “that’s an option we’re looking at, whether or not there is someone who could mount a write-in campaign successfully.”