Sarah Huckabee Sanders was obviously flustered when a reporter challenged her to justify Donald Trump's decision to back accused pedophile Roy Moore because he wants to block a Democrat from winning the seat.
Sarah Huckabee Sanders could only muster a weak defense when a reporter challenged her to clarify why Donald Trump has given his full-throated endorsement to Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore.
Near the beginning of the daily White House press briefing Tuesday, Sanders said Trump was backing Moore despite the credible allegations of child molestation against him because he supports Trump's agenda.
For the White House — and, as of Monday, the rest of the Republican Party — that is preferable to Democrat Doug Jones.
Sanders was visibly uncomfortable when MSNBC's Hallie Jackson asked her about Trump's decision to back Moore, despite the multiple allegations against him. She concluded the awkward exchange by noting Trump is "not going to, obviously, support a Democrat."
JACKSON: A question about Roy Moore. You said just a minute ago that the president would want somebody in the Senate who supports his agenda versus one who does not. And I just want to clarify here: Is it the White House's position, then, formally here, that it is worse to have a Democrat in that Senate seat than somebody who is accused of sexually abusing a teen girl?
SANDERS: Look, as I've said, we find the allegations to be troubling.
JACKSON: Then why did the president endorse?
SANDERS: Look, um, I think that those are different things in terms of — we aren't going to be the ones to determine that process. That's for the people of Alabama to determine what those things come down on. He does want people that support his agenda. He's not going to, obviously, support a Democrat. And I think if that's our standard, then we need to look at a number of members of Congress that have allegations brought against them that are still in office.
The exchange was a glaring example of the Trump team wanting to eat their cake and have it too. Trump wants credit for criticizing Moore, but also praise from base Republicans for endorsing his campaign, while inoculating himself from criticism for the party getting behind an accused pedophile.
That isn't how the real world operates.
Trump and his Republican cohorts have put themselves behind Moore, both morally and fiscally, and the decision to do so will be baggage they have to carry for a long time.
Trump didn't need to weigh in on the election. He himself has avoided comment on a host of issues, both petty and important. But he chose to get on board with Roy Moore, despite the very serious misdeeds he stands accused of.
An accused pedophile running for office has the backing of Donald Trump and the Republican Party. Nothing can change that, and Sanders knows it.