Outspoken Virginia Republican Corey Stewart this weekend defended Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore, who has been accused of initiating sexual contact with a teenage girl. Meanwhile, Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md.) said if the allegations are true, Moore should drop out of the race.
Stewart, chairman of the Prince William Board of County Supervisors and a candidate for the GOP nomination to challenge Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.), defended Moore on Friday in a Facebook Live event.
“These allegations are 40 years old. Forty years old, and they’re unsubstantiated,” Stewart said in response to a question from Ian Sams, Kaine’s campaign spokesman. “There’s no way to prove it. They didn’t prove it, but you’re presumed guilty? That’s not right.”
Sams, speaking on behalf of Kaine said, “Any person of conscience should be willing to condemn child sex abuse, and the fact Corey won’t speaks volumes about him.”
The Washington Post published an interview Thursday from a woman who said Moore initiated sexual contact with her when she was 14 and he was a 32-year-old assistant district attorney in Alabama. Leigh Corfman told The Post that Moore took her to his house and touched her sexually,
Three other women interviewed by The Post say Moore pursued them when they were between the ages of 16 and 18 and he was in his early 30s.
Moore, 70, has not ruled out that he may have dated girls in their late teens when he was in his 30s but denies any wrongdoing.
Since the allegations were first reported, a growing number of Republicans, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), have said Moore should withdraw from race if the charges are true. The Senate GOP’s campaign arm also formally ended its fundraising agreement with Moore.
On Friday evening Harris, the only Republican representing Maryland in Congress, posted a one-sentence statement about Moore on his Facebook page.
“If the allegations regarding Leigh Corfman are accurate, Judge Moore should withdraw from the race,” he wrote.
Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-Va.), the only woman in region’s congressional delegation, issued the stronger rebuke of Moore on Friday.
“Harvey Weinstein, Anthony Weiner, Roger Ailes, Roy Moore . . . No MOORE of this,” Comstock said in a statement, adding that Moore had not provided a credible response to the allegations. “Roy Moore should not serve in the U.S. Senate.”
But Stewart, who ran unsuccessfully for the GOP nomination for governor and is known for making blunt pronouncements that galvanize his base — and opponents — took the opposite tack.
“Until there’s proof, I don’t believe it,” Stewart said. “Until there’s proof, we’re not going to judge Judge Roy Moore.”
Stewart did not respond to questions about what would constitute proof, nor did he elaborate Sunday on his comments during the Facebook event, during which he took questions on a variety of topics.
He also blamed the media.
“The media by the way, total double standard,” Stewart said, arguing that reporters covered for Harvey Weinstein, despite the many press reports about decades of allegations against the Hollywood producer.
As first reported in detail in the New Yorker and the New York Times, followed by other outlets, Weinstein is accused of a 30-year-pattern of abuse and sexual assaults.
“Hey, where’s Tim Kaine about that?” said Stewart, who has been described as the “titular head of the Trump movement” in Virginia.
However, Kaine was asked about Weinstein last month by CNN and responded: “Any leader should condemn this . . . The allegations are lowlife behavior.”
Weinstein was a major donor to the Democratic presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton, who chose Kaine as her running mate.
Do you have an unusual story to tell? E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org