A Senate candidate accused of having a sexual encounter with a woman who was 14-years-old at the time joked about the allegations in a speech.
Roy Moore said ‘obviously I’ve made a few people mad’ as he used the claims as a political tool for his campaign.
During a speech at the Walker Springs Road Baptist Church in Alabama on Tuesday, Moore said he will still stand for Senate ‘if it’s God will’.
He said: ‘I’m playing a little part in this scenario going on in this country — obviously I’ve made a few people mad. I’m the only one who can unite Democrats and Republicans because I seem to be opposed by both.
‘They’ve spent over $30 million trying to take me out. They’ve done everything they could and now they’re together to try to keep me from going to Washington, and why?
‘Well it has a lot to do with what we’re talking about tonight. We want our country to be saved by God, but we’ve got a part in it, if we humble ourselves and pray and seek his face, and turn from our wicked ways.’
Moore added that the media are focused on these claims, but he ‘wants to talk about the issues’ facing America.
On Tuesday, House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan said Moore ‘should step aside’.
Moore allegedly made inappropriate advances and had sexual contact with a woman when she was 14.
The Moore campaign called the news first reported by The Washington Post — ‘the very definition of fake news and intentional defamation’.
The incidents are reported to have taken place when Moore, the 70-year-old former state Supreme Court judge, was serving as an assistant district attorney in his early 30s, according to the Post.
Moore, then 32, first approached 14-year-old Leigh Corfman in early 1979 outside a courtroom in Etowah county, Alabama, it is reported.
After phone calls and meetings, he drove her to his home some days later and kissed her, the Post quotes Corfman as saying. On a second visit, he took off her shirt and pants and removed his clothes except for his underwear before touching her over her bra and underpants, Corfman told the Post. He also guided her hand to touch him over his underwear, she said.
‘I wanted it over with – I wanted out,’ she told the Post. ‘Please just get this over with. Whatever this is, just get it over.’
Senior Republicans swiftly called for Moore to step aside if the allegations are shown to be true.
‘The allegations against Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore are deeply troubling,’ said Colorado Sen. Chairman Cory Gardner, who leads the Senate GOP campaign arm.
‘If these allegations are found to be true, Roy Moore must drop out of the Alabama special Senate election.’
The Moore campaign’s statement said: ‘Judge Roy Moore has endured the most outlandish attacks on any candidate in the modern political arena, but this story in today’s Washington Post alleging sexual impropriety takes the cake.
‘After over 40 years of public service, if any of these allegations were true, they would have been made public long before now.’
Moore has been married to the same woman for 33 years and has four children and five grandchildren.