"Let's make it clear. The president of the United States would like to see an accused child molester be elected senator from Alabama."
Donald Trump's decision to wholeheartedly back and defend accused child molester Roy Moore in Alabama's Senate race has shocked even the people who cover him in the news every day.
On CNN's "Newsroom," anchor Brooke Baldwin and her panel of contributors were nearly speechless after Trump said of the allegations simply, "he denies it."
CNN political director David Challian summarized the surreal moment: "The president of the United States would like to see an accused child molester be elected senator from Alabama."
Baldwin responded, "I got nothin' for ya. I don't know what to say."
BALDWIN: Is this an endorsement, officially, from the president of the United States?
CHALLIAN: Yes. Yes!
BALDWIN: It is?
CHALLIAN: Let's make it clear. The president of the United States would like to see an accused child molester be elected senator from Alabama. I understand he denies the accusations. [...]
But in what world did we ever think we were going to see the president of the United States all but endorse and express his desire to have the accused child molester be the one elected to the United States Senate?
RESTON: Over tax reform.
BALDWIN: I got nothin' for ya. I don't know what to say.
The moment was capped by reporter Maeve Reston pointing out that Trump and many of his fellow Republicans, particularly within the Alabama Republican Party, are willing to give Moore a pass simply to have his vote on taxes.
Pushing a change in the tax system that would swing the pendulum so far toward the ultra-wealthy — like Trump and his family — is such a priority for the party that they are more than willing to dismiss the credible claims against Moore.
After days of hemming and hawing on whether the White House would continue to support Moore — after initially deriding the story as a "mere allegation" — Trump is now all-in.
The extremely serious allegations against Moore clearly do not matter to Trump, nor does Moore's vindictive and specious defense of the behavior attributed to him.
Trump and many of his fellow Republicans — almost none of whom have encouraged voters to support Democrat Doug Jones, who is not accused of preying on teenagers — want a conservative agenda passed after all their months of legislative impotence. They don't care how they get it done.