Trump's reaction to allegations that Republican Senate nominee Roy Moore molested and preyed upon teenagers is not surprising, but it is deeply disturbing.
The explosive allegations of Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore’s predatory behavior toward teenage girls in the late 1970s and early 1980s has thrown the Republican Party into chaos.
Some Republicans, particularly state and local officials in Alabama, have chosen to stick with him, asserting there is nothing wrong with a 32-year-old man pursuing teenagers at custody hearings. Sean Hannity even went so far as to call preying on teenagers “consensual.” Others, including Republican senators, called on Moore to drop out if the allegations are true, essentially dismissing the stories of four women who have come forward who say the allegations are true.
The reaction everyone was waiting for, of course, was Donald Trump, who is still on his trip through Asia and was delayed in receiving the news. Trump — who himself bragged on tape about assaulting women — is the leader of the Republican Party, and his reaction was bound to influence the moves of the party at large.
Trump’s reaction, relayed to reporters via press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, was to dismiss the story as "mere allegation," express sympathy for Moore but not his victims, and, like other Republicans, hide behind the "if true" condition — even though, decades later, the only way to know if the allegations are true is to believe the extensive reporting that they are.
"Like most Americans, the president believes we cannot allow a mere allegation, in this case one from many years ago, to destroy a person’s life," she said. "However, the president also believes that if these allegations are true, Judge Moore will do the right thing and step aside."
As a reminder, the “mere allegation” has been corroborated by over 30 people who knew Moore and his four accusers at the time. Obviously no one is arguing for locking him up without trial — but there is clearly enough here to preclude any legitimate place for him in politics.
As for Trump believing Moore will "do the right thing" if the allegations are true, Moore is already sent out an email fundraising off his own pedophilia allegations, in which he calls the attacks on him a “spiritual battle” and blames the “Obama-Clinton Machine” in three separate lines. It is safe to say Moore does not care what the right thing to do is.
Many women have accused Trump of sexual misconduct, and he has dismissed and demeaned all of them, insisting they are all lying. This, despite his own admission of sexually assaulting women.
That Trump would offer sympathy to Moore and try to dismiss his accusers is not surprising, but it is further evidence of just how unfit for office Trump is.