Trump publicly backed Moore after polls showed comeback — because he wanted to claim credit
President Donald Trump publicly threw his support behind Roy Moore after the Alabama Republican was accused of molesting teenage girls — but his reasons haven’t been entirely clear until now.
The president didn’t even back Moore during his primary run, and he initially called on him to drop out of the race if the allegations were true, but Politico reported on the process that led Trump’s endorsement.
Trump changed his position late last month for two reasons, the website reported.
He was “resentful and angry” that his own advisors — including daughter Ivanka Trump — seemed to be piling on Moore as accusers came forward one after another.
But he also was asking aides for updates on polling in the Senate race, and Trump saw an opportunity when Moore’s numbers started to bounce back.
Trump wanted to claim credit for the comeback — and redeem what he considered to be an embarrassing mistake to endorse Moore’s primary opponent, Sen. Luther Strange.
Moore had fallen behind Democrat Doug Jones by as much as 8 points after the Washington Post reported the long-rumored allegations.
But polls started suggesting a comeback by Nov. 21, and Trump was privately questioning Moore’s accusers.
He spoke up in Moore’s defense after the first public poll showed Moore rebounding, saying the Republican had denied the allegations.
Trump also worried about the razor-thin GOP majority in the Senate, which barely passed the tax reform bill.
The president ultimately voiced a full-throated endorsement, which also brought the fundraising arm of the Republican National Committee back into the race.