U.S. President Donald Trump will not campaign for Roy Moore, the Alabama Republican Senate candidate who is facing allegations of sexual misconduct, a White House official said on Monday.
Republican lawmakers have distanced themselves from Moore and called for him to step down, but he has defied those entreaties and denied the allegations, labeling them politically motivated.
Trump, at odds with Republican leaders in Congress, defended the Senate nominee in remarks last Tuesday. Asked if he would campaign for Moore ahead of Alabama's Dec. 12 special election, Trump told reporters, "I'll be letting you know next week."
Moore has faced fire since a Washington Post story earlier this month reported on four women who said the Senate candidate pursued them when they were teenagers and he was in his 30s. More women have come forward since then.
Reuters has not independently confirmed any of the accusations.
Trump has repeatedly slammed Moore's Democratic opponent, Doug Jones, calling him weak on crime and saying that Jones would not vote for a tax overhaul plan being debated in Congress.
Republicans hold a slim 52-48 majority in the Senate and are eager to maintain their advantage to pass Trump's legislative agenda on taxes, healthcare and other priorities.
(Reporting by Steve Holland; Writing by Makini Brice; Editing by Tim Ahmann and Jonathan Oatis)