President Trump was quick to jump on Senator Al Franken when the Democratic politician from Minnesota was accused of groping and kissing a woman without consent. When it comes to Roy Moore, the Republican Alabama Senate candidate accused of sexual harassment and assault by six women, Trump has remained quiet on Twitter. A reason for this, which was offered by Kellyanne Conway on Fox News Friday, is that the Moore scandal is old news.
“Al Franken was a brand-new news story yesterday when the president weighed in, as he does on the news of the day often enough,” Conway said. “The Roy Moore story is eight days old and the president put out a statement during his Asia trip on that, and since then our press secretary has spoken on behalf of the president that he believes the people of Alabama will sort out what to do with Roy Moore and with that election.”
Here’s a closer look at how Trump responded to both Franken and Moore.
On Thursday, radio host Leeann Tweeden shared a photo of Franken appearing to grope her during a USO tour while she slept. She also accused him of kissing her without consent during a rehearsal for the same tour. Franken has since apologized to Tweeden, who accepted and read it aloud to The View on Friday.
“The Al Frankenstien picture is really bad, speaks a thousand words,” Trump tweeted Thursday night. “Where do his hands go in pictures 2, 3, 4, 5 & 6 while she sleeps? ……And to think that just last week he was lecturing anyone who would listen about sexual harassment and respect for women. Lesley Stahl tape?”
Trump was referring to a sexual assault joke Franken made in 1995 about journalist Lesley Stahl.
Among the claims lodged against Moore, which he dismissed as “lies and smears,” he has been accused of initiating a sexual encounter with a teenager when he was in his 30s, groping a woman, and sexually assaulting another. Many members of the Republican party have already called for Moore to bow out of the Senate race.
On Nov. 10, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders spoke on behalf of Trump while he was aboard Air Force One to Vietnam.
“Like most Americans, the president believes that we cannot allow a mere allegation — in this case, one from many years ago — to destroy a person’s life,” she said. “However, the president also believes that if these allegations are true, Judge Moore will do the right thing and step aside. Regardless, the president must and will remain focused on representing our country on his historic trip to Asia where he has been treated with great respect and made unprecedented progress in further strengthening alliances and promoting America’s interests above all else.”
When a journalist asked Trump about Moore in person a day later, the president claimed, “Believe it or not, even when I’m in Washington and New York, I do not watch much television.”
As for Twitter, which has been Trump’s way to bypass traditional media outlets, he tweeted praise of Moore to his followers prior to the initial Washington Post report on the scandal. “Spoke to Roy Moore of Alabama last night for the first time,” he wrote on Sept. 27. “Sounds like a really great guy who ran a fantastic race. He will help to #MAGA!”
Trump also supported Moore by tweeting, “Roy, WIN in Dec!”
According to CNN, a Republican close to the White House suggested to the news outlet that Trump’s relative silence on the Moore matter is because POTUS is “worried about the conversation moving to his past accusers.” Trump has previously been accused of sexual harassment and assault by multiple women.