Donald Trump has told people to vote for extreme homophobic Senate candidate Roy Moore – who faces allegations of child molestation.
Moore is the Republican candidate ahead of a special election for the US Senate seat in Alabama vacated by Trump’s Attorney General Jeff Sessions, facing off against Democrat Doug Jones.
Moore, a former judge, was ejected from the Alabama Supreme Court for abusing his authority in a bid to block gay weddings. He has compared gay sex to bestiality and paedophilia, and has ties to ‘death to gays’ preachers.
His campaign has been hit by controversy this month after a number of women came forward to accuse Moore of sexual assault, including a number who were under the age of consent when he made alleged sexual advances.
Moderate Republicans including Mitch McConnell, John McCain and Mitt Romney have sought to disassociate themselves from Moore and called for him to step down.
However, Donald Trump this week insisted that voters should stick by Moore despite the allegations of child molestation.
Asked about the allegations against Moore, Trump said: “I can tell you one thing for sure, we don’t need a liberal person in there, a Democrat… Jones, I’ve looked at his record, and it’s terrible. I can tell you for a fact that he’s going to be bad.”
Asked by a reporter about whether electing “a child molester” was better than electing a Democrat, Trump said: “He denies it.
“Look, he denies it. If you look at what is really going on, he totally denies it, he says it didn’t happen, and you have to listen to him also.
“He said 40 years ago this did not happen.”
Asked if he would campaign for Moore, Trump said: “I’ll be letting you know next week, but I can tell you you don’t need somebody who is soft on crime like Jones.”
As well as the allegations of child molestation, Moore is a notorious homophobe.
The candidate has compared gay sex to bestiality, saying: “Just because it’s done behind closed doors, it can still be prohibited by state law Do you know that bestiality, the relationship between man and beast is prohibited in every state? It’s the same thing.”
Moore has also dodged questions about whether gay people should be put to death, and has appeared multiple times on a radio show hosted by pastor Kevin Swanson, who is known for preaching that gay people must be stoned to death.
Meanwhile, he has made shockingly offensive speeches comparing the ‘victims’ of equal marriage to gays in the Holocaust.
In a speech to the anti-LGBT Eagle Forum, Moore paraphrased Martin Niemöller’s famous Holocaust poem to attack LGBT rights.
He said: “We’re going through something in our country that other countries went through. Germany went through it when the state took all power and moved into the church.
“Martin Niemöller was a German pastor who stood against the Nazis, and he said ‘First they came for the Socialists, and I weren’t a Socialist so it didn’t bother me. Then they came for the Labour Unionists, and I wasn’t in the Labour unionsts, so I didn’t pay any attention. Then they came for the Jews, and hey, I wasn’t a Jew! So I did not speak out… and then they came for me — and there was no one left to speak up’.
“Ladies and gentlemen, we could say the same thing today.
“They came for the bakers, but I didn’t bake cakes. They came for the florists, but I didn’t deal in flowers. They came for a little clerk down in Kentucky by the name Kim Davis, but hey, I’m not a clerk, I have nothing to do with issuing [marriage] licenses.
“Then they came for me, and nobody was left. This will touch every person in this room and every child in this room eventually.”
In a separate, equally-offensive analogy, He also compared the legal expectation to not discriminate against gay couples to soldiers who received orders to kill Jews.
He said: “Could I do this if I were in Nuremberg… say that I was following the orders of the highest authority to kill Jews?… Could I say I was ordered to do so?. Is there a difference?”
Donald Trump, who is supportive of Moore’s bid, repeatedly ignored questions about his extreme homophobic record.
In a press conference last month a journalist asked: “Roy Moore, down in Alabama, has said that he believes homosexuality should be illegal and that Muslims should be barred from serving in the U.S. Congress.
“What makes you comfortable with someone with those beliefs serving in the U.S. Senate?”
But President Trump brushed off the call to condemn the comments.
He said: “Well, I’m going to be meeting with Roy sometime next week, and we’re going to talk to him about a lot of different things.
“But I’ll be meeting with him. He ran a very strong race.
“The people of Alabama, who I like very much and they like me very much, but they like Roy.
“And we’ll be talking to him, and I can report to you then. Okay?”
In a press gaggle several weeks ago a reporter also tried to raise the issue, but Trump insisted: “I don’t see it.”
Trump’s press chief Sarah Huckabee Sanders also evaded questioning during the White House Press Briefing.
When Moore’s views on LGBT rights were raised, she said: “I’m not going to weigh in on a specific race ahead of time at this point.”
Asked if President Trump has any opinions about Moore’s incendiary comments, she said: “Not that I’m aware of.”
Trump has previously vowed to “fight like hell” for Moore.
In a 2015 interview Moore himself refused to say whether he supports gay people being put to death.
The candidate formerly served as Alabama’s Chief Justice, but was ejected from the role after abusing his authority in a bid to block gay weddings in the state.
The disgraced justice had issued a string of orders declaring the US Supreme Court ruling on equal marriage “doesn’t apply” in Alabama due to state anti-gay laws, and ordered probate judges to enforce a gay marriage ban.
Moore fumed: “This was a politically motivated effort by radical homosexual and transgender groups to remove me as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court because of outspoken opposition to their immoral agenda.”
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It was in fact because of his flagrantly illegal actions.
Moore said: “Because of YOU, tonight, the establishment has been defeated in Alabama!
“We still have a ways to go before December 12th’s general election, and the road certainly doesn’t get easier, but with YOU, the best grassroots army of supporters around, I know we can take on anything together!”
CNN’s K-File found that Moore’s political Facebook page had shared a 2015 article by anti-LGBT website Barbwire titled ‘Conservative Russians Give Moral Lesson to Facebook’s Homosexual Propaganda’.
The article addressed Russian efforts to ban a Facebook ‘Pride’ profile picture filter in the country under the gay ‘propaganda’ law.
It lavished praise on the country for its “strong stance in defense of traditional family values” by passing “what is commonly referred to as the law against gay propaganda” to jail “insolent demonstrators”.
Elsewhere on his Facebook page, Moore criticised local officials for permitting Pride parades to take place, and shared posts claiming that gay people have fabricated all instances of homophobic hate crimes.
The special election takes place on December 12.