At Roy Moore's first campaign stop since allegations of child molestation surfaced, the audience greeted him with an enthusiastic standing ovation.
After the shocking news of allegations that Alabama Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore molested a 14-year-old girl and pursued other teenagers when he was in his mid-30s, much of the country reacted with horror and disgust.
Some Alabama Republicans, on the other hand, had a starkly different reaction, seemingly eager to embrace a grown man accused of assaulting a young girl.
At his first campaign stop since the allegations surfaced, the crowd greeted Moore with enthusiastic applause, and even a standing ovation:
Roy Moore met by GOP cheers just outside Birmingham in first public appearance since allegations: pic.twitter.com/OWELn5TCa8
— Vaughn Hillyard (@VaughnHillyard) November 11, 2017
After being introduced, the crowd can be seen jumping to their feet, loudly applauding, and wholeheartedly supporting the man now accused of being a pedophile.
During his speech, Moore said that the allegations against him are “unbelievable,” and cast doubt on the veracity of the accusations by pointing out how much time had passed between the alleged assaults and the women coming forward.
In response to Moore calling those four women liars, the crowd broke out into wild applause:
Roy Moore: "To think that grown women would wait 40 years… to bring charges is absolutely unbelievable" pic.twitter.com/E4g46ufXPb
— NBC News (@NBCNews) November 11, 2017
Of course, this isn’t the first time that Alabama Republicans have embraced an accused sexual predator.
In 2016, Alabama overwhelmingly supported Donald Trump, a man who admitted on tape that he enjoyed sexually assaulting women. Even after 16 women came forward to corroborate the actions that Trump bragged about on the Hollywood Access tape, 63 percent of Alabamians still voted for him.
And now, many in Alabama are likewise sticking by Moore.
Marion County GOP chairman David Hall said of Leigh Corfman, the youngest of the women to come forward, “It was 40 years ago. I really don’t see the relevance of it. He was 32. She was supposedly 14. She’s not saying that anything happened other than they kissed.”
When reminded by Toronto Star reporter Daniel Dale that Moore also tried to get Corfman to touch his genitals, Hall reiterated that it was “40 years ago” and appallingly declared that “it won’t affect whether or not I’d vote for him.”
While recent polling has seen the race to fill Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ Senate seat tighten, there is still a surprisingly wide gap among religious voters: Evangelical Christians back Moore by 20 points while non-evangelicals support his Democratic opponent Doug Jones by 29 points.
While the Republican Party turns its back on Muslims, women, African-Americans, the Latino community, and the LGBTQ community, it is apparently ready and willing to welcome accused child molesters with open arms and enthusiastic applause.