Sean Hannity is basically the Pied Piper of the Republican Party, so, when even he’s taking back his original, full-throated endorsement of Roy Moore, you know Moore is in real trouble. Last night, Hannity expressed grave doubt about Moore’s deflections of the five sexual harassment claims currently made against him; the tide seemed to turn thanks to yesterday’s press conference involving the fifth accuser, Brenda Young Nelson. Nelson says Roy Moore “groped and assaulted” her around 40 years ago, when Moore was in his 30s and Nelson was 16.
Politico was the first to report Hannity’s near-take back. “For me, the judge has 24 hours,” Hannity told his radio show’s listeners on Tuesday night (or about ten hours ago). “[Moore] must immediately and fully come up with a satisfactory explanation for your inconsistencies that I just showed….Between this interview that I did and the inconsistent answers. Between him saying ‘I never knew this girl,’ and then that yearbook comes out….You must remove any doubt. If you can’t do this, then Judge Moore needs to get out of this race.”
(“That yearbook” refers to Nelson’s 1977 high school yearbook, which Nelson presented at a Monday press conference. Despite Roy Moore’s claim that he doesn’t know Nelson, the yearbook contains Moore’s signature.)
Hannity was one of Roy Moore’s earliest and most high-profile supporters, and last week defended Moore in the wake of a Washington Post report containing the sexual assault claims of women–one of whom was 14 at the time she says Moore groped and fondled her.
— Judge Roy Moore (@MooreSenate) September 23, 2017
Hannity’s original endorsement led several companies to either pull their ads from his show or consider doing so. The biggest (and, now, most notorious) name to pull out was Keurig, which led to a semi-turgid, mostly hilarious backlash among conservatives who felt the need to destroy their coffee makers (and overshadowed the fact that the best reason for Keurig-smashing is that it is literally the least efficient way to make yourself a cup of coffee).
In the meantime, would-be colleagues of Roy Moore, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and senators Jeff Flake of Arizona; Steve Daines of Montana; Mike Lee of Utah; Cory Gardner of Colorado; and Susan Collins of Maine, among others, have all withdrawn their support for Moore.
And it’s entirely possible that, should Moore win the special election for Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ former seat, the Senate will vote to expel Moore instead of allowing him to be sworn in. Such a move would force another special election–meaning Moore could run again.
Though Alabama is one of the reddest states in the country, Roy Moore currently holds a mere two-point lead over Democrat Doug Jones. The Alabama special election is on Tuesday, December 12.
(Photo credits: Roy Moore via Facebook)