Allegations of pedophilia shouldn't be difficult to denounce. But many Republican Senate hopefuls have remained silent on the horrifying accusations against their fellow candidate, Roy Moore.
Silence speaks a thousand words, and in the case of a number of Republican Senate candidates, those words are saying quite a lot about their character — or lack thereof.
The horrifying allegations of sexual predation and pedophilia against Alabama Senate nominee Roy Moore have shocked the nation, and ought to be the easiest kind of thing for anyone to denounce without hesitation or qualification.
A disturbing number of Republicans have remained stuck in the disingenuous “if true” stance — even as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell actually announced that he believes the women accusing Moore, and has begun pressuring him to drop out of the race to fill Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ former seat.
But another group of GOP candidates haven’t even gone that far, and have remained noticeably and at times pointedly silent on the subject.
Nevada Sen. Dean Heller, already vulnerable in his re-election bid, was slammed for his “cowardly silence” on the allegations — silence which his campaign only continued by at first refusing to respond to multiple requests for comment from The Nevada Independent, and then belatedly joining the “if true” contingent on Monday.
Ohio Republican Senate candidate Josh Mandel refused to take a position on whether Moore should exit the race. In fact, Mandel’s spokesperson specifically told the Associated Press, “You can say we didn’t respond.”
In Indiana, GOP Reps. Luke Messer and Todd Rokita have largely remained silent — though Rokita did take pains to emphasize that a campaign memo, which was sent out before the allegations surfaced and compared Rokita’s candidacy to Moore’s, was not meant to be seen as an endorsement of Moore himself.
Tennessee Rep. Marsha Blackburn has yet to condemn Moore, which Democratic candidate James Mackler said was “deafening, if not disqualifying” for Blackburn’s own candidacy.
If the Republican Party wants to hold on to even a shred of morality, each and every one of their members ought to unequivocally repudiate Moore.
Former RNC Chairman Michael Steele made this point crystal clear Monday evening.
Yeah, there’s a new reality coming to bear here for Republicans, the White House — the president in particular, when he gets back here to the United States — that will have to be addressed. There is no hiding from this. There’s no placating it, there’s no more excuse-making, ‘if but when then.’ You’re either definitively clear that Roy Moore should not be seated as a United States senator — as I am and many other Republicans are — or you’re going to backslide your way in making excuses, and to be honest with you, we have no use for that in the Republican Party.
The longer some in the party waffle on the issue or remain mired in spineless silence, when faced with a man accused of preying on teenagers in the past and threatening his accusers now, the more hollow their claims to being the party of “family values” become.
[Editor’s note: This article was updated to reflect Sen. Dean Heller’s statement on Monday.]