Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) is the latest and most high-profile Republican to publicly denounce Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore, asking the former judge to withdraw from the closely watched race after multiple women told the Washington Post that Moore coerced them into engaging in sex acts when they were teenagers. Moore was, at the time, a 32-year-old assistant district attorney.
Asked by reporters Monday morning whether he believed Moore should continue his campaign, McConnell said the candidate "should step aside," adding that he "believes the women" who gave their accounts to the Post. McConnell joins Republican senators John McCain (R-Arizona), Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), and Susan Collins (R-Maine) in calling for Moore to withdraw from the race.
A number of other Republican officials have suggested Moore step aside "only if the allegations prove true," and the majority of local Republican party leaders in Alabama have told reporters on the record that they remain comfortable voting for Moore.
A Washington Post report from November 9th details the accounts of multiple women who say Moore coerced them into sexual activity when they were teenagers in the late 1970s. The youngest of those women was 14 years old; she told the Post that Moore tried to pick her up while she attended a custody hearing with her mother.
While Moore has denied engaging in sexual acts with underage women, he said he might have dated women in their late teens—and that he would not have done so without their mother's permission. It is illegal in the state of Alabama to engage in sexual activity with children under the age of 16.