Senate candidate Roy Moore continues to face political backlash, with the GOP's Senate fundraising arm dropping support for him on Friday. File Photo by Greg Whitesell/UPI | License Photo
Nov. 10 (UPI) -- The Republican Party's Senate campaign fundraising group dropped its support for congressional hopeful Roy Moore Friday, amid sex assault allegations against the Alabama candidate.
The National Republican Senatorial Committee, the fundraising arm for Senate Republicans, signaled its disassociation with Moore in a filing with the U.S. Federal Election Committee.
The NRSC raises money to help elect Republicans in the upper chamber, and offers other support like planning strategy and research.
The group's dismissal of Moore came hours after the White House encouraged him to drop his bid to claim the Senate seat vacated by now-Attorney General Jeff Sessions, if sexual misconduct accusations against him are true.
A report in in The Washington Post this week said Moore, 70, engaged in sexual contact with a 14-year-old girl more than three decades ago when he was an attorney in a small Alabama town.
Three other women said they had similar experiences with Moore when they were teenagers. The newspaper interviewed more than 20 people who knew Moore between 1977 and 1982 before publishing its findings.
Traveling in Asia with President Donald Trump Friday, White House press officer Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the president doesn't believe "a mere allegation" should destroy a person's life -- but added that Trump "believes that if these allegations are true, Judge Moore will do the right thing and step aside."
Moore, a former Alabama Supreme Court chief judge twice removed from office, has denied the charges.
In a letter Friday seeking funding for his legal defense, Moore blamed the "Obama-Clinton Machine" for launching "the most vicious and nasty round of attacks me I've EVER seen." He referred to the charges as part of "a spiritual battle" involving "the left-wing's all-out war against our conservative values."
Several Republican legislators, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, have also said Moore should quit the race if the allegations are true.
Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey called the Post report "deeply disturbing," but added, "I will hold judgement until we know the facts. The people of Alabama deserve to know the truth and will make their own decisions."
Ivey said she would vote for Moore, who is up against Democrat Doug Jones in a Dec. 12 special election, but has a policy of not offering endorsements.
Tommy Battle, the mayor of Huntsville, Ala., who's seeking the GOP nomination for next year's governor's race, said, "If the allegations are true, then he does not need to be the Republican candidate for Senate."
Others in Alabama came to Moore's defense.
"There is nothing to see here," Alabama State Auditor Jim Ziegler told the Washington Examiner. "The allegations are that a man in his early 30s dated teenage girls. Even the Washington Post report says that he never had sexual intercourse with any of the girls and never attempted sexual intercourse."
Trump endorsed candidate Luther Strange over Moore in the party's primary last month, but later endorsed the judge for the December vote. Moore's run was promoted by former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, whose support put him at odds with Trump. Thursday he noted The Washington Post, owned by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, also published the existence of an audiotape last fall that captured Trump bragging about groping women.
"The Bezos-Amazon-Washington Post that dropped that dime on Donald Trump, is the same Bezos-Amazon-Washington Post that dropped the dime [now] on Judge Roy Moore," Bannon said. "Is that a coincidence?"