The bombshell child molestation allegations against Alabama Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore may end up sinking President Donald Trump’s plan to slash taxes for the rich.
On Thursday, The Washington Post reported that Moore molested a 14-year-old girl he met outside a child custody hearing at a courthouse while he was a 32-year-old prosecutor.
She told the Post that Moore later “picked her up around the corner from her house in Gadsden, drove her about 30 minutes to his home in the woods, told her how pretty she was and kissed her. On a second visit, she says, he took off her shirt and pants and removed his clothes. He touched her over her bra and underpants, she says, and guided her hand to touch him over his underwear.”
She said she remembered thinking, “I wanted it over with — I wanted out. Please just get this over with. Whatever this is, just get it over.”
The Post spoke to more than 30 sources who revealed Moore strolled the mall in search of teenage girls. Three women came forward to say Moore made sexual advances toward them when they were teenagers.
Moore denies the allegations but the Republicans in the Senate have already begun to distance themselves from the candidate, saying he should step down if “the allegations are true.”
That they feel the need to qualify their statements is notable but that Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell and a number of other top senators made such statements within minutes of the report is striking.
Though Republicans run both chambers of Congress and the White House, the healthcare debacle has proven their majority in the Senate is superficial at best. With a major tax cut bill in their sights, the Alabama Senate seat, which had previously been a near-guarantee for the GOP, is more important than ever.
Arizona Sen. John McCain, who helped sink the Republicans’ attempt to repeal and replace Obamacare, and Oklahoma Sen. James Lankford have already expressed concern that the tax cuts will blow a huge hole in the deficit and increase the debt.
McCain has joined with Trump critic Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker to vow not to vote for “one penny’s worth of deficits.”
Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake, another Trump critic who has no plans to run for reelection, agreed, saying he is “concerned” about “how the current tax reform proposals will grow the already staggering national debt by opting for short-term fixes while ignoring long-term problems for taxpayers and the economy.”
Even with Moore, passing the tax cuts would be a tough sell. If Moore loses to Democrat Doug Jones in December, a prospect that until the shocking allegations seemed a virtual impossibility, the tax bill may very well be dead.
The problem for Republicans is that it may be too late. By Alabama law, it’s already impossible to replace Moore’s name on the ballot meaning that even if he steps aside – which he has strongly vowed not to do – the only way Republicans can back a different candidate would be through a write-in campaign without any obvious names to turn to.