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article imageTrump says Republicans 'can't afford' to lose Alabama Senate seat

By Nicholas KAMM (AFP)     Dec 8, 2017 in Politics

US President Donald Trump threw his full weight Friday behind Roy Moore, the Alabama Republican running for the US Senate with the president's support despite being accused of molesting teenaged girls.

"Get out and vote for Roy Moore. Do it, do it," the US leader said to applause at a campaign-style rally in Pensacola, Florida, just across from the Alabama state line.

"This country, the future of this country, cannot afford to lose a seat in the very, very close United States Senate. We can't afford it, folks," Trump said, reaffirming his backing for Moore in next week's closely-watched election.

He said Moore was needed in the Senate to protect red meat issues for Republicans, such as gun rights, restricting immigration and boosting funding for the military.

Trump earlier this week officially endorsed the ultra-conservative Christian in the December 12 vote -- a change of tack after he initially characterized the allegations against Moore as "very troubling."

Roy Moore  a 70-year-old former state judge  stands accused of sexual assault by several women who w...
Roy Moore, a 70-year-old former state judge, stands accused of sexual assault by several women who were teenagers at the time
Drew Angerer, GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP/File

Moore, a 70-year-old former state judge, stands accused of sexually assaulting during his thirties several women who were teenagers at the time, including one who was 14.

Trump has said a victory for his Democratic rival Doug Jones would be a "disaster."

"We can't afford to have a liberal Democrat who is completely controlled by Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer," Trump said of Jones, repeating his earlier argument that he would be a "puppet" of the top Democratic lawmakers.

The Alabama race, which is being held to replace Jeff Sessions -- who Trump named US attorney general -- has national repercussions because the Republicans hold a slim 52-48 majority in the Senate. A win for Jones would make it 51-49.

Moore's local supporters have dismissed the allegations against him, first reported by the Washington Post, as part of a politically motivated campaign to undermine his election bid.

At the national level, however, Republicans fear the race will give the impression the party tolerates abusive behavior towards women, as the country grapples with snowballing allegations of harassment and assault in the worlds of politics, entertainment and the media.

On Thursday, US Senator Al Franken became the second prominent Democrat in a week to resign in the face of accusations of sexual misconduct -- in his case that he kissed and touched several women without consent.

In a defiant resignation address, the comedian-turned-lawmaker noted with bitter irony that Moore was running for election with the president's support -- while accused of far more serious offenses.

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