President Donald Trump on Tuesday appeared to discount allegations of sexual misconduct by GOP Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore — repeatedly saying the former judge "totally denies it — you have to listen to him also."
He also suggested it was more important for voters to ensure a Democrat was not elected in the state's special election Dec. 12.
"I can tell you one thing for sure, we don't need a liberal person in there, a Democrat," he told reporters about Doug Jones, who is running against Moore.
Trump spoke to reporters Tuesday at the White House before leaving for a Thanksgiving break at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida.
"Forty years is a long time, and this has never come up," Trump said of the allegations from multiple women who claimed sexual misconduct by Moore when they were teenagers and he was in his 30s.
"He denies it," Trump repeatedly asserted about Moore. "I mean, if you look at what is really going on, and you look at all the things that have happened over the last 48 hours, he totally denies it."
"He says it didn't happen," Trump continued. "And you know, you have to listen to him also. You are talking about – he said 40 years ago this did not happen."
Trump said he would announce next week if he would campaign for Moore.
"But I can tell you you don't need somebody who is soft on crime like Jones," he said.
"I've looked at his record," Trump added. "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 somebody that's going to be bad on crime, bad on borders, bad with the military, bad for the Second Amendment."
Trump's position is a break from other national Republicans, who have called on Moore to step aside.
Moore's campaign has been in turmoil since The Washington Post published a story detailing the accounts of three women who claim he pursued them while they were teenagers and he was in his 30s. More women have since spoken out with allegations of their own.
Moore, 70, has denied any wrongdoing.
Reuters has been unable to independently confirm any of the accusations.
Before the allegations came to light, Moore was heavily favored to defeat Democrat Doug Jones, a former federal prosecutor, in the special election Dec. 12.
The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.
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