Even as a long-standing critic of Roy Moore, it has been painful to watch the embarrassing defenses of his lawyers, the truly bizarre statements of his spokesman, and defenses of his supporters. Last night however was like entering a truly twisted alternative universe as Moore’s friend countered multiple claims of Moore’s pursuit of young girls and his wife defended against his alleged anti-Semitism. The proof? Moore once turned down underaged prostitutes and one of his lawyers is a Jew. The optics and rhetoric coming from the campaign seem to struggle to fulfill stereotypes like riding to the polls on a horse named “Sassy” as reporters pursue you to answer questions over sexual misconduct.
Moore’s military buddy refuted the allegations of nine women and a myriad of witnesses with a single story of how they went to a brothel in Vietnam that turned out to be filled with very young girls. Bill Staehle explained “I could tell you what I saw, but I don’t want to. There were certainly pretty girls. And they were girls. They were young. Some were probably very young.” But Moore did not have sex with the girls because ‘That was Roy, honorable, disciplined, morally straight, highly principled.”
Of course, this hardly proves that Moore did not pursue young girls for consensual relationship when he was in his 30s or that other factors (like military regulations and foreign laws) were not a liability. None of this means that Moore is guilty of these allegations, including rape. I have previously said that I find the women to be quite credible as do many Republicans, including the ranking Republican senator from Alabama. However, the decision to forego adolescent prostitute in a brothel in Vietnam is a rather bizarre defense to feature at the biggest rally of the campaign the night before the election.
Staehle was followed by Moore’s wife who has been accused of enriching Moore and herself to the tune of roughly $1 million from their religiously based charity The Foundation for Moral Law. In fairness to Moore, the allegation that we received $180,000 a year for part-time work is troubling but not necessarily unheard of. He was the main source of support for the foundation. The more troubling element for me is the alleged failure to clearly report the level of money removed from the foundation by the Moore family.
At last night’s rally, Kayla Moore refuted notions of anti-Semitism with the classic “some of my best friends are Jews.” The problem is that Moore has previously said that Jews will go to hell for their rejection of Christ. The defense again was painful to watch but here it is:
Saying “one of our attorneys is a Jew” is again hardly a rebuttal to Moore’s extremist stated Jews on Jewish people burning in hell.
Once again, I have been honest that my opposition to Moore was complete before these allegations due to his radical views of the Constitution and rejection of core legal principles. However, I also believe that it is willful blindness to ignore the scope of alleged victims and witnesses against Moore on pursuing young girls. Some conservatives are engaging in the identical pattern of denial that they previously (and rightfully) ridiculed during the Clinton scandals. Moore is a moral hazard and today is a test for whether voters will act on moral convictions or political convenience.