Roy Moore Accuser Speaks Out While White House Effectively Endorses Moore
The woman who says Ray Moore assaulted her when she was just 14 spoke out this morning at the same time that the White House effectively endorsed Moore's candidacy.
Leigh Corfman, the woman who said that she was sexually assaulted at the age of fourteen, spoke to the Today show about what happened between her and a thirty-two-year-old Moore forty years ago:
Leigh Corfman, who says Alabama Senate Republican nominee Roy Moore touched her sexually when she was 14 and he was 32, rejected his claim that he has never met her, saying Monday in her first television interview, “I wonder how many ‘me’s’ he doesn’t know.”
Corfman, who is 53, was interviewed on NBC’s “Today” show 11 days after her account first appeared in The Washington Post. She said she met Moore, then an assistant district attorney, in early 1979 when she was sitting on a bench with her mother outside a courtroom at the Etowah County Courthouse in Gadsden, Ala.
Days later, she said, Moore picked her up around the corner from her house, brought her to his home, and touched her over her bra and underwear and guided her hand to touch him over his underwear.
“I didn’t deserve to have a 32-year-old man prey upon me,” Corfman said in the television interview.
Moore told Sean Hannity of Fox News he had never met Corfman, though he did not rule out dating teenagers when he was in his early 30s.
The Post has written about five other women who say Moore pursued them when they were between the ages of 16 and 22, several of them while they were working at the Gadsden Mall in the late ’70s and early ’80s.
Another woman, Beverly Young Nelson, said at a New York City news conference with attorney Gloria Allred that Moore assaulted her when she was 16 years old. Two other women have described inappropriate behavior by Moore to Al.com. Some of the women say they were inspired to come forward after Corfman spoke publicly.
The allegations have led to mounting calls from Republicans in Congress for Moore to drop out of the race, but he has denied wrongdoing and declared he will keep campaigning. Some Moore supporters have suggested the women were paid to make up stories about Moore, which Corfman denied.
Here’s the video:
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) November 20, 2017
All of this came on the same day that the White House, which has largely stayed on the sidelines, effectively endorsed Moore by saying they wanted his vote in favor of tax reform:
A top White House adviser to President Trump on Monday morning effectively endorsed U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore, a man who faces multiple accusations of sexual misconduct with teenage girls, including one involving a 14-year-old.
White House counselor Kellyanne Conway didn’t say, “Vote for Roy Moore,” but she might as well have. And her comments put a button on a lengthy series of comments and no-comments from the White House that can be read as nothing but a wink and a nod toward supporting Moore in the Alabama special election and doubting his accusers.
Asked on Fox News whether the White House was urging Alabamians to support the Republican, Conway’s answer was decidedly not “no.”
“I’m telling you we want the votes in the Senate to get this tax bill through,” Conway said. “And the media — if the media were really concerned about all these allegations, and that’s what this was truly about … Al Franken would be on the ash heap of bygone half-funny comedians. He wouldn’t be here on Capitol Hill. He still has his job. What’s Bob Menendez doing back here? That’s the best my state of New Jersey can do?”
Conway then turned to Moore’s opponent, arguing he’s not worthy of Alabamians’ votes and would be too left-leaning.
“The guy Doug Jones is a doctrinaire liberal,” Conway said. She added: “I just want everybody to know Doug Jones. Nobody ever says his name, and they pretend that he’s some kind of conservative Democrat in Alabama, and he’s not.”
Conway went on to not explicitly rule out Trump’s campaigning for Moore, although she did say Trump had no plans to do so.
So to recap: Trump needs votes in the Senate, Jones is too liberal for the White House, and the president’s top adviser won’t explicitly rule out Trump’s campaigning for Moore. It’s not difficult to imagine the message Alabamians would take away from that. Whether her comments were technically presented as an endorsement is really beside the point.
Nor is it altogether surprising that we’d wind up in this place. The White House, from Day One of the Moore fiasco, has struck a significantly different tone than the rest of the Republican establishment. After The Washington Post broke the first story on this and Republicans said Moore needed to drop out if the allegations were true, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the same thing but added some caveats that suggested that Trump was skeptical of Moore’s accusers: “Like most Americans, the president believes that we cannot allow a mere allegation — in this case, one from many years ago — to destroy a person’s life.”
Here’s the video of Conway’s appearance:
None of this is surprising, of course. As Aaron Blake notes in the piece quoted above, the Trump Administration has been loath to condemn Moore or to speak out on behalf of his accusers. Instead, they’ve largely taken the position that the issue should be left to the voters of Alabama. Now we’re at the point where they are effectively at the point where the White House is arguing that Moore should be elected so that he can cast a vote in favor of the tax reform bill if and when it comes up for a vote before the end of the year. This is the same kind of cynical political nonsense that allows them to condemn Al Franken on the basis of two accusations of sexual impropriety while continuing to claim that the dozen women who have come forward with similar and even worse allegations against the President himself are lying even though the President has never followed through on the threats that he made after the Access Hollywood tape came out to sue the women in question for defamation. Even leaving that issue aside, the fact that the White House would endorse someone who is for all intents and purposes a child molester for the Senate in the name of politics says everything that needs to be said about them and the President’s own sense of morality.
As for Corfman, it seems fairly clear that her story is entire credible, and that Moore has a lot to answer for. He stands accused of child molestation and his denials have not been credible. The fact that he refuses to resign, and that there are still people of Alabama willing to vote for him, says a lot more about them than it does about anyone else. And none of it is good.