Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon said the allegations of sexual misconduct against GOP Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore, first published in the Washington Post, were a “setup.”
“This whole thing was a setup. This whole thing was weaponized. Right? You know that. Folks down here in Alabama know that,” Bannon said at a rally for Moore in Fairhope, Ala., on Tuesday. “This is the Jeff Bezos, Amazon, Washington Post. Even Chuck Todd of NBC, of Matt Lauer fame, Chuck Todd, he even said it looked like a coordinated hit. Because Mitch McConnell was out 57 minutes later saying Judge Moore should drop out.”
The Washington Post reported the initial accusations against Moore last month. In that report, four women accused Moore of pursuing sexual and romantic relations with them when they were between the ages of 14 and 18, while he was in his 30s. More women have come forward with additional allegations since then. Moore has repeatedly denied the allegations.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has called for Moore to exit the race, but said over the weekend he would "let the people of Alabama make the call" whether Moore should join the Senate.
He clarified that he had not changed his position that Moore should exit the race.
"There's been no change of heart. I had hoped earlier he would withdraw as a candidate. That obviously is not going to happen," McConnell told reporters Tuesday.
McConnell also said the Senate would have no choice but to swear in Moore.
“My understanding is, based on a 1969 Supreme Court decision, we would have no option but to swear him in,” he said.
McConnell also said Tuesday the Senate Ethics Committee would immediately launch an investigation if Moore were elected and seated.
Moore is up against Democrat Doug Jones next week in the Alabama special election to fill the seat vacated by Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
Bannon returned to his post as executive chairman of Breitbart News after he left the White House in August. He had served as President Trump's campaign as chief executive officer in the 2016 campaign's final months.