House speaker calls for Moore to end Senate run
Speaker of the House Paul Ryan responds to a question from the news media during a press conference on Capitol Hill, in Washington, DC, USA, Nov. 7, 2017. EPA-EFE FILE/SHAWN THEW
Then Alabama Chief Justice, Roy Moore, is surrounded by supporters during an address at the state judicial building in Montgomery, Alabama, USA on Aug. 25, 2003. EPA-EFE FILE/JAMIE MARTIN
Democratic Representative from Texas Sheila Jackson Lee holds up the images of Leigh Corfman (L), Wendy Miller (Top L), Debbie Wesson Gibson (Center L) and Gloria Thacker Deason (Bottom L); who have accused Republican candidate for the US Senate Roy Moore (image R) of sexual misconduct; during the House Judiciary Committee hearing on oversight of the Justice Department with testimony from US Attorney General Jeff Sessions (not pictured), on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, USA, Nov. 14, 2017. EPA-EFE/MICHAEL REYNOLDS
Washington, Nov 14 (efe-epa).- House Speaker Paul Ryan on Tuesday joined other Republican Party heavyweights in asking Roy Moore, the GOP candidate for Alabama's Senate seat to "step aside" because the sexual abuse accusations leveled against him are "credible."
"He should step aside," Ryan said at a Tuesday morning press conference.
"Number one, these allegations are credible. Number two, if he cares about the values that he claims to care about, then he should step aside" the House speaker added.
Moore, a 70-year-old former judge from the party's ultra-conservative wing who is running for the Alabama Senate seat in the special Dec. 12 election, has been accused by five women of sexually abusing them when they were teenagers and he was in his early 30s.
Ryan joined Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, also a Republican, in stating that Moore should withdraw from the race, and at least five other senators have taken the same stance.
Meanwhile, Moore said that the accusations made by the five women are "absolutely false" and are a "desperate" attempt by the Democratic Party and The Washington Post to "politically" attack his campaign, referring to the daily that initially reported the accusations late last week.
Moore is aligned with the so-called radical "alt-right" strategy propounded by former White House official Steve Bannon, and he won the Republican primaries to vie for the Senate seat by defeating Luther Strange, who had enjoyed the support of the GOP and President Donald Trump.
The president, who returns on Tuesday from a lengthy Asia tour, has not commented on the accusations against Moore, which came to light last Thursday, but White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders has made ambiguous public remarks on the matter.
She said in a statement that although "a mere allegation" should not "destroy a person's life," Trump "believes that if these allegations are true, Judge Moore will do the right thing and step aside."