Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said on Monday that he believes the women who say Republican Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore perpetrated inappropriate sexual contact and sexual assault, according to reports.
McConnell said Moore—who reportedly dated teenagers in his 30s, including one woman who says he sexually assaulted her when she was 14—should “step aside” from the Alabama senate race, according to the Associated Press. He added that Republicans are looking at a write-in option for the election on Dec. 12.
Moore has vehemently denied the women’s accounts detailed in a Washington Post report—which included more than 20 sources—that brought the accusations to light last week, calling them “fake news” and “garbage.”
In response to McConnell’s condemnation, Moore called on the senate majority leader to resign because he has “failed conservatives.”
Moore also used the report to fundraise the day after it published, characterizing the women as pawns of the Democratic establishment.
Immediately following the Post‘s report, McConnell said Moore should drop out of the Senate race “if the allegations are found to be true.”
While McConnell has joined other Republicans in suggesting that Moore step aside in light of the accusations, far-right website Breitbart has done the opposite, digging in against Moore’s accusers and publishing dubious reports that aim to poke holes in their stories.
On Sunday, Breitbart published a report that aimed to discredit Leigh Corfman, the woman who says Moore sexually assaulted her when she was 14. The report said Corfman’s mother, Nancy Wells, said her daughter did not have a phone in her bedroom during the time he allegedly assaulted her—implying there was “false reporting” in the Washington Post’s story.
It’s unclear why Breitbart thinks this detail is a smoking gun. Wells also told Breitbart that “the phone in the house could get through to her easily,” directly contradicting the far-right website, which published Moore’s denial shortly before the Post’s story broke. In the same story, Breitbart continues to try to discredit Corfman’s account by listing a number of times the word “remembers” appears in the Post’s story.
The far-right website also ran a story on Sunday—still prominently displayed on its homepage on Monday morning and labeled an “exclusive”—where Moore’s wife, Kayla Moore, called the accusations “just not true” and said she was “shocked” the Post would “come up with something so outrageous.”
Steve Bannon, the former White House adviser to President Donald Trump and high-level figure at Breitbart, campaigned for Moore ahead of the Republican runoff election earlier this year. Bannon has also taken a hard stance against McConnell, whom he paints as a toxic figure of the political establishment.
Moore threatened to sue the Washington Post in light of the publication of the story, although it remains to be seen if he will actually do so.
Update 11:53am CT, Nov. 13: Added tweet from Moore.