UPDATED with NRSC chairman reaction: Colorado Sen. Corey Gardner, National Republican Senatorial Committee chairman, now says that, one way or the other, Alabama’s GOP senate candidate Roy Moore has got to go. This after Monday’s Gloria Allred presser, in which a woman accused Moore of assaulting her when she was 16.
“I believe the individuals speaking out against Roy Moore spoke with courage and truth, proving he is unfit to serve in the United States Senate and he should not run for office,” Gardner said in a statement released to the press. “If he refuses to withdraw and wins, the Senate should vote to expel him, because he does not meet the ethical and moral requirements of the United States Senate.”
It’s an extraordinary statement from the NRSC chair; CNN’s Jake Tapper noted there have been only 15 expulsions in the history of the U.S. Senate – and 14 of them were because of Confederate support during the Civil War.
Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell already told reporters “I believe the women” and Moore should step aside, while other Republican senators are dropping their “if these allegations prove true” qualifiers to their statements about Moore possible stepping away from the race.
PREVIOUS, 1 PM: Another Alabama woman has come forward alleging state GOP Senate candidate Roy Moore sexually assaulted her when she was a teen and he was in his 30s and a local Alabama District Attorney. Beverly Young Nelson made her statement at a widely covered news conference today accompanied by Gloria Allred. At the packed presser, covered by multiple TV news outlets, Allred said her client would take no questions after her statement, because she hopes to testify under oath to the members of the Senate if they will call a hearing about accusations made against Moore.
Nelson delivered a statement claiming Moore assaulted her outside the restaurant where she waitressed when he was a local DA.
Nelson said she was 15 when she first met Moore, at the Old Hickory House restaurant in Gadston, where he ate nearly every night. She knew Moore to be DA and always treated him with respect. Moore, however, sometimes pulled the end of her long red hair, and complimented her on her looks. Allred produced a copy of Nelson’s high school yearbook which she alleged Moore asked if he could sign, producing the page on which was written: “To a sweeter, more beautiful girl I could not say Merry Christmas, love Roy Moore, DA.”
One night when Nelson worked until the restaurant closed, her boyfriend was late picking her up to take her home, and Moore asked if he could drive her, Nelson said in her statement. “I trusted Moore because he was DA. I thought he was doing something nice, offering to drive me home. I did not want to wait in the cold so I agreed.”
Instead of driving away from the restaurant, he drove around the back, parked between the dumpster and the building, locked her door, and “began groping me, putting his hands on my breasts.” She claimed he began squeezing her neck “attempting to force my head onto his crotch.” In her statement, she alleged she continued to struggling while begging him to stop.
“I thought he was going to rape me,” she told a room full of reporters.
He finally gave up, she said, but told her, “You’re just a child. I am the district attorney…and if you tell anyone about this no one will believe you.”
During her presser, Moore’s campaign issued a lengthy statement:
Gloria Allred is a sensationalist leading a witch hunt, and she is only around to create a spectacle. Allred was the attorney who claimed credit for giving us Roe v. Wade, which has resulted in the murder of tens of millions of unborn babies. We’ve said this before and we’ll say it again: Judge Moore is an innocent man and has never had any sexual misconduct with anyone. This is a witch hunt againt a man who has had an impeccable career for over 30 years and has always been known as a man of high character. Let it be understood: the truth will come forward, we will pursue all legal options against these false claims and Judge Moore will be vindicated.
“Generally, when name calling is involved, that’s usually because the person does not have a good argument on the merits,” Allred shot back.
“If that’s the best he has, well, Mr. Moore, as they way in some parts of this country, ‘You got some ‘splaining to do’,” Allred added. She challenged Moore to testify under oath before a Senate committee, as her client has asked to do.
Earlier Monday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called for Moore to withdraw from the race to replace Jeff Sessions ahead of the December 12 election in wake of a Washington Post report alleging the GOP senate candidate initiated a sexual encounter with a 14-year-old when he was in his 30s and an assistant DA..
WaPo reported Thursday that Moore allegedly initiated sexual contact with then 14-year-old Leigh Corfman when he was assistant district attorney in Etowah County. Corfman said she met Moore at a courthouse where she’d gone so her mother could attend a child custody hearing. According to Corfman, Moore later contacted her, took her to his house, undressed her and touched her over her bra and underpants while guiding her hand towards his genitals.
Three other women told WaPo they dated Moore when they were in their teens, but the relationships were confined to kissing. Those women say they were over the legal age of consent in Alabama, which is 16, at the time.
Late last week, President Donald Trump broke his silence, saying Moore should step aside if the allegations are true.
Moore has said he is going to sue WaPo, though nothing has been filed. Trump’s former strategist Steve Bannon, who endorsed Moore, has launched a Breitbart campaign to try to impugn the credibility of WaPo‘s report. “The Bezos-Amazon-Washington Post,” Bannon reminded everyone, previously had “dropped the dime on Donald Trump” during the campaign.
It was WaPo that published the old Access Hollywood tape of then-Celebrity-Apprentice host Trump boasting about being so famous he could grab women “by the p*ssy” with impunity.