Kansas senators say Roy Moore should step aside if sexual misconduct allegations are true
U.S. Sens. Pat Roberts and Jerry Moran, of Kansas, both Republicans, are saying that GOP Senate candidate Roy Moore, of Alabama, should step aside if allegations of sexual misconduct against him are true.
Both Kansas senators issued statements Friday after the Washington Post published explosive allegations that Moore, Alabama's former controversial Supreme Court chief justice, had sexual contact with at least four women when they were teenagers, including one who was 14 at the time, and he was in his 30s.
"If the allegations are true, Senator Roberts would urge Roy Moore to step aside," Sarah Little, Roberts' spokeswoman said in an email to the Journal-World.
“If there is any truth to these allegations, Roy Moore should immediately step aside,” Moran said in a separate email.
Moore is running in a special election in Alabama to fill a Senate seat vacated by now-Attorney General Jeff Sessions. He has vehemently denied the allegations. The election is scheduled for Dec. 12.
The seat is temporarily being held by Sen. Luther Strange, whom Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley appointed until a special election could be held. Strange lost the GOP primary to Moore in September.
The accusations could not have come at a worse time for Senate Republicans who had hoped to dominate the news cycle Thursday with the unveiling of their own tax overhaul proposal. Both Roberts and Moran had issued news releases earlier in the day touting the tax plan. Roberts serves on the Finance Committee that will begin working the bill Monday.
Republicans currently hold a 52-48 majority over Democrats and Independents in the Senate, and divisions within the caucus have already shown they can have a difficult time passing major legislation such as repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.
In another controversial measure, Vice President Mike Pence had to cast the deciding vote to pass a bill taking away consumer rights to join class action lawsuits against financial institutions.
If Republicans were to lose the Alabama race — something that was all but unthinkable just a few days ago — that would leave the GOP with only a 51-49 majority, and virtually no margin for error.
The allegations against Moore are just the latest in a long series of sexual harassment and assault allegations against powerful men in business, entertainment and government. In fact, at virtually the same time the Washington Post was releasing its story about Moore, the New York Times published a story on its website detailing sexual misconduct allegations against comedian Louis C.K.
There have also been recent allegations of widespread sexual harassment against female legislative staff and interns in the Kansas Statehouse.