Remember these words: “We don’t need a liberal person in there, a Democrat.”
They mark a moment of immorality from which the Republican Party may not return.
They were spoken, of course, by President Donald Trump, a man who long ago surrendered his own morality to make room for more ego. He was leaving the White House for a Thanksgiving vacation and was asked about Roy Moore, the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate in Alabama, a man who has now been repeatedly accused of hitting on, flirting with, attempting to date and sexually assaulting teenage girls when he was in his 30s.
The allegations against Moore are numerous and credible, and have now been backed up by extensive accounts from others who remember him as a mall-cruising weirdo young women knew to avoid. If you read the reporting done by newspapers in Alabama, it sounds like Moore’s predilection for young girls was common knowledge when he was an assistant district attorney in Etowah County.
Does that make him guilty? No. But given the evidence we’ve seen — much of it coming from Trump supporters in Alabama — shouldn’t it disqualify Moore from serving in the U.S. Senate? I think so.
We have seen powerful men — liberals and conservatives — fall in large numbers recently based on accusations of sexual harassment and sexual assault. The evidence against Moore has been no less than that against many of those men.
But Trump says this: “Roy Moore denies it. That's all I can say. He denies it. And by the way, he totally denies it.”
But that’s not what’s impacting Trump’s decision to maintain his support for Moore. The president all but admitted it. Speaking of the Senate seat Moore is running to fill, Trump said those words: “We don’t need a liberal person in there, a Democrat.”
That’s all that matters apparently. Trump is just fine with an alleged pervert filling that seat, as long as Moore votes for tax cuts and aligns with Trump’s agenda.
That’s sick. That’s party loyalty taken to a dangerous extreme, and anyone out there who disagrees, please answer this question: If Roy Moore’s Democratic opponent, Doug Jones, was the one facing these allegations, if he was the center of one disturbing story after another, would you be OK with Democrats standing behind him? Would a Democratic president voicing his support for such a candidate make you queasy?
Of course it would.
Trump’s comments Tuesday showed that our politics have become so focused on winning that a man credibly accused of preying on teenagers can be given the benefit of the doubt.
That’s disgusting. And it’s worse coming from a president repeatedly accused of sexual misconduct, a president who thinks his denial of those charges — like Moore’s denial of the charges against him — is good enough.
None of this is good enough. We deserve better, but the most powerful Republican in the country, one of the most powerful people in the world, is telling us that allegations of sexual misconduct with teenage girls are irrelevant if it will give his party a win.
“We don’t need a liberal person in there, a Democrat.”
That’s a horrifying excuse for throwing the weight of the U.S. presidency behind a man like Roy Moore.