Trump defends Roy Moore, says ‘you have to listen to him also’

Screengrab via CSPAN

Trump said he will announce next week whether he will campaign for Moore.

President Donald Trump on Tuesday afternoon made his most substantive remarks about the accusations of sexual misconduct against Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore, defending the former judge and repeatedly insisting that Moore denies numerous allegations of sexual assault and misconduct.

At first, Trump echoed remarks by White House adviser Kellyanne Conway, telling a group of reporters that he felt Democrat Doug Jones, Moore’s opponent, is something Congress doesn’t “need.”

“I can tell you one thing for sure, we don’t need a liberal person in there, a Democrat,” Trump said. “I’ve looked at his record. It’s terrible on crime. It’s terrible on the border. It’s terrible on the military. I can tell you for a fact, we do not need someone that’s going to be bad on crime, bad on borders, bad with the military, bad for the Second Amendment.”

Trump then pivoted to defending Moore and his denials of accusations from several women, one of whom says he sexually assaulted her when she was 14 years old and another who said he attempted to rape her when she was 16 years old.

“Look, he denies it,” Trump said, shrugging. “If you look at what is really going on. If you look at all of the things that have happened over the last 48 hours, he totally denies it. He says it didn’t happen. You know, you have to listen to him also. He said 40 years ago this did not happen, so, you know.”

Pressed on the matter, Trump added, “Roy Moore denies it. That’s all I can say. He denies it. And by the way, he totally denies it.”

Trump also left open the possibility of campaigning for Moore ahead of Alabama’s Dec. 12 special election.

“I’ll be letting you know next week,” Trump said. “But I can tell you, you don’t need somebody who is soft on crime like Jones.”

As reporters continued to ask him questions, Trump—who also stands accused of sexual misconduct by numerous women—said he felt that the rising number people coming forward about sexual harassment and assault was “good for society.”

“Women are very special,” he said. “I think its a very special time because a lot of things are coming out… I think it’s very, very good for women. I’m very happy a lot of these things are coming out… I’m very happy it’s being exposed.”

At least 16 women say the president sexually assaulted or harassed them. Trump was caught on a 2005 Access Hollywood tape bragging about sexually assaulting women.

“When you’re a star, they let you do it,” Trump said in the recording, released in October 2016. “You can do anything. Grab ‘em by the pussy.”

Before the 2016 election, several women told the New York Times that Trump assaulted them and touched them inappropriately.

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