Tomorrow, December 12, the state of Alabama will vote on the person who will represent them in the United States Senate in a special election. The front-runners are Democratic candidate Doug Jones and of course, the firebrand conservative Republican Roy Moore. Given the accusations of sexual misconduct with minors and other extreme views, the President has been understandably distant from the candidate and reluctant to offer his unequivocal support. However, this all changed last Friday when Trump tweeted an unconditional message of support, concluding with a singular call to action, “VOTE ROY MOORE!”
This change of heart was brought on in part by the vitriol generated against Judge Roy Moore from the media, some of his advisers, and even his own daughter, Ivanka Trump.
“There’s a special place in hell for people who prey on children.” Ivanka said in response to an AP interview question about Roy Moore last November, “I’ve yet to see a valid explanation and I have no reason to doubt the victims’ accounts.”
These statements, which were first made by White House’s legislative director, Marc Short, inspired “resentment and anger” in the President, according to Politico. Some reports trace this anger to the President’s own sexual assault allegations which have been revitalized in the wake of the Alabama election.
Indeed, it would be very difficult for the President to condemn Roy Moore for the same types of allegations which are levied against him, especially when both men vehemently deny them. Instead, as Moore’s chance of winning escalated steadily, Trump decided to support the candidate by holding a campaign-style rally in Pensacola, Florida – just miles away from the Alabama border. While Roy Moore himself did not appear at the rally, Trump issued a rallying cry to Alabama citizens, encouraging them to vote for the Republican judge. More recently, Trump’s support has been taken the form of a robocall received by many Alabama citizens where Trump stresses the importance of electing Roy Moore and securing a Republican seat in the state.
The divisions between father and daughter are made even clearer when it comes to the treatment of the accusing parties in sexual assault cases. While Ivanka states that she has no reason to doubt Moore’s accusers, Trump is seemingly satisfied with Moore’s denials of the claims. When it comes to his own accusers, however, Trump goes on the offensive. In a 2016 campaign rally at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, then-candidate Trump promised that “these liars will be sued after the election is over.” To this day, no lawsuit has been filed by Donald Trump against his accusers.
Whether Roy Moore takes the coveted Senate seat will be decided tomorrow, but if elected, he could face the full force of the Senate Ethics Committee – a mechanism which could endanger his position in the Senate. If this goes through, critics of President Trump will no doubt be clamoring for equal treatment in order to ensure that the women who accused Donald Trump will be heard as well.