As the special election for Alabama’s next U.S. senator draws near, President Donald Trump continues to throw his support behind Republican candidate and alleged sexual predator Roy Moore — but another prominent Republican is saying that’s not the right approach for the party.
Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina decried Moore in an appearance Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union, telling host Dana Bash that Trump’s support of the controversial candidate — who has been accused of repeatedly preying on and sexually assaulting underage girls — isn’t in the best interest of the Republican Party, whether or not Moore wins the election.
“Well, that’s a political decision by the president. He’s definitely trying to throw a lifeline to Roy Moore,” Graham said when asked if Trump should be telling Americans to support Moore.
“From a Republican point of view, I don’t know what winning looks like with Roy Moore. If he wins, we get the baggage of him winning, and it becomes a story every day about whether or not you believe the women or Roy Moore. Should he stay in the Senate? Should he be expelled? If you lose, you give the Senate seat to a Democrat at a time [when] we need all the votes we can get,” Graham continued.
Referencing the bitter primary between Moore and Sen. Luther Strange of Alabama, Graham concluded, “The moral of the story is don’t nominate someone like Roy Moore who could actually lose a seat that any other Republican could win.”
Trump continued his support of Moore Sunday morning on Twitter, writing that Moore’s Democratic challenger Doug Jones is a “Schumer/Pelosi puppet” who “would be a disaster.” Graham emphasized Sunday, however, that a Moore win still wouldn’t make things easy for the Republican Party in the long term.
“From a party perspective, we have to look long term, not short term,” Graham said Sunday, “and what I would tell President Trump [is] ‘If you think winning with Roy Moore is going to be easy for the Republican Party, you’re mistaken.’”
Moore’s behavior is not the only current sexual assault scandal facing the U.S. Senate, however, as Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) is currently facing accusations from four women who allege he groped them.
Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin was asked about the allegations and whether Franken should resign on CNN Sunday, responding that the Minnesota senator has faced the accusations “in a responsible way” by encouraging an ethics investigation into his behavior.
“Look, Al Franken has acknowledged what he did was wrong, and it was wrong. He has also submitted his whole case to the Senate Ethics Committee. I think that was the right thing to do. Let’s have a hearing, an investigation. Let’s let this reach whatever conclusion it’s going to reach. But through a due process. That, to me, makes sense,” Durbin said Sunday.
“Others [have] tried to run away from charges; you have to say Al Franken has faced it, and he has done it in a responsible way. I think it’s the way to approach it,” Durbin continued.