On the radio earlier today, when asked if he dated teenaged girls while he was in his 30s, Judge Roy Moore’s answer was “not generally.” That hardly inspires confidence in his claim that he’s the victim of a political attack.
Hannity went through the Post story and detailed the allegations of the four accusers. Moore claimed to know two of four, but denied any instance of misconduct with either. In response to the allegations involving Debbie Wesson Gibson, Moore said, “I don’t remember going out on dates. I knew her as a friend. If we did go out on dates, then we did. But I don’t remember that.”
He doesn’t remember going on dates with a girl he knew but somehow remembers with perfect clarity that he didn’t have an inappropriate relationship with another girl a few years younger. He doesn’t really inspire confidence.
"I know her, but I don't remember going on dates with her. I knew her as a friend. If we did go on dates, then we did" https://t.co/28toXuI5B5
— BuzzFeed News (@BuzzFeedNews) November 10, 2017
Who among us can remember every teenager we dated in our 30s https://t.co/Vpre9Ze6Y0
— Tom Nichols (@RadioFreeTom) November 10, 2017
Speaking of the late 1970s and early ’80s, Moore said he “dated a lot of young ladies” after “my return from the military.”
“I do recognize the names of two of these young women,” he said of Gibson and Deason, denying that he gave the latter alcohol when she was underage. “As I recall, she was 19 or older.”
Asked if he remembers dating teenage women when he was older than 30, Moore said, “Not generally, no.”
“I don’t remember dating any girl without the permission of her mother,” he said. He later pointed to The Post’s story and said, “These two young girls actually said their mothers encouraged them to be friends with me.”
Alabama Republican Roy Moore to Hannity: “I don’t remember dating any girl without the permission of her mother.”
— Steve Peoples (@sppeoples) November 10, 2017
After a commercial break, Moore became more forceful in his denials of dating teenagers. He said doing so “would be out of my customary behavior” and that he “never” would have dated a teen without her mother’s permission.
It sounds like Moore received some coaching during the break from someone on his campaign, or possibly Hannity himself. Someone must have told him “not generally” didn’t sound convincing.
Pointing to the allegation involving a 14-year-old, Moore said: “This never happened. They know it never happened.”
“If you abuse a 14-year-old, you shouldn’t be a Senate candidate. I agree with that,” Moore said. “But I did not do that.”
He called the report a “political attack” against him and added that he’s “sure in the next four weeks” The Post is “going to come out with another article.”
Saying that “establishment Republicans” and “Democrats” were behind the allegations, Moore said he and his campaign “have some evidence of some collusion here.”
“But we’re not ready to put that to the public yet,” he said.
Keep in mind that releasing the story as a political attack and timing it for maximum political impact in no way proves that the story is false. It may be false but its being weaponized politically is not evidence that it is. We’ll have to wait and see what evidence he comes out with. (We’re still waiting for Trump’s evidence against his accusers, by the way.)
Moore’s performance doesn’t move me to defend him. He may well be guilty of nothing other than having been a creepy 30-something dude who dated young but legal teenagers.
Whether he goes to the Senate or not is up to the people of Alabama. I’m not going to demand that he step aside. I don’t get a vote.
The part of this whole story that is most disturbing is not the 40 year old allegations anyway. It’s the ease with which so many Republicans who once said “character matters” began parsing age of consent or legal technicalities to justify the actions of which Moore is accused.
Even worse are the fanatics who think knowingly electing a child molester is a valid option.