As of this writing, five women have accused Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore of sexual assault against them when they were as young as 14 years old.
Newsflash: A 14-year-old is a child. An eighth grader.
When asked, by “journalist” Sean Hannity if he’d really dated young teenagers when he was in his 30s, Moore said, “If I did, I’m not going to dispute these things, but I don’t remember anything like that.”
Not exactly an adamant denial. While he does deny the accusations made by the woman who was 14 when he assaulted her, former colleagues of Moore have said it was common knowledge that he used to troll high schools for girls.
And so far most Republicans in Alabama are standing by him because everybody knows that sexual assault charges against important and powerful Republicans are “fake” news (after all, look at who is the goddamn president).
But there’s enough evidence that other Republicans are trying to distance themselves. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a man who should never be forgiven for stealing a Supreme Court seat from President Obama, has called for Moore to step aside.
Moore hit back with a Tweet: “The person who should step aside is @SenateMajLdr Mitch McConnell. He has failed conservatives and must be replaced. #DrainTheSwamp.”
Is McConnell a failure? Yes. Should he be replaced? For sure. Is he a swamp monster? Yes. But should these things be a consequence of going after Moore? No. Still, let’s not get too excited. McConnell is terrible, but at least he hasn’t been accused of molesting children.
Fun fact: Moore’s “DrainTheSwamp” tag makes it look like he’s on Trump’s team, but Trump actually backed his opponent Luther Strange in the primary. DRAMA!
Running against Moore, by the way, is Democrat Doug Jones, a former prosecutor who helped convict KKK members for bombing a Birmingham, Alabama church in 1963, killing four girls. While Moore has hurt children, Jones literally fought for them.
Now, if you’ve been following right-wing politics for as long as I have, the name Roy Moore isn’t a new one. He has graced the Creep of the Week column many times over the years. His list of anti-LGBTQ credentials is long.
“Homosexual conduct is, and has been, considered abhorrent, immoral, detestable, a crime against nature, and a violation of the laws of nature and of nature’s God upon which this Nation and our laws are predicated,” he wrote in 2002 while Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court. “It is an inherent evil against which children must be protected.”
The case before him was a lesbian who wanted custody of her children because her ex-husband abused them. Moore sided with the abuser.
In 2003 Moore was booted from the Supreme Court after putting up and refusing to take down a Ten Commandments monument at the courthouse. In 2012 Alabama voters put him back on the bench, and you can kind of guess what Moore’s response was to the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2015 marriage equality ruling. He was suspended from the bench for banning the issuance of marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
“The great sufferers will be the children,” he said of the ruling.
Moore was unfit for a Senate seat long before it came out that children were, in fact, suffering him. LGBTQ people have had to live under the cloud of the right-wing claim that we’re harmful to children. Moore has been a megaphone for these views for decades now.
And now we know why.
And yet so poisoned are the minds of Republicans it took child molestation charges for them to back away from Moore. And for many, not even that is enough. And, in the end, the great sufferers will be the children.
D’Anne Witkowski is a poet, writer and comedian living in Michigan with her wife and son. She has been writing about LGBT politics for over a decade. Follow her on Twitter @MamaDWitkowski.