While many Republicans in office have opted to tread carefully in their remarks on Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore's alleged sexual misconduct, one prominent Republican didn't mince words on Friday.
“Innocent until proven guilty is for criminal convictions, not elections,” tweeted former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney.
Innocent until proven guilty is for criminal convictions, not elections. I believe Leigh Corfman. Her account is too serious to ignore. Moore is unfit for office and should step aside.
— Mitt Romney (@MittRomney) November 10, 2017
“I believe Leigh Corfman,” added Romney, explicitly mentioning one of Moore's accusers by name. “Her account is too serious to ignore. Moore is unfit for office and should step aside.”
The unequivocal condemnation of Roy Moore from Mitt Romney stands in stark contrast to the statements from many prominent Republicans who hedged their calls for Roy Moore to step aside on the condition that the allegations be proven true.
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), calling the allegations “disqualifying,” was one of few prominent Republicans to call for Roy Moore to step aside immediately with no qualifying statements:
The allegations against Roy Moore are deeply disturbing and disqualifying. He should immediately step aside and allow the people of Alabama to elect a candidate they can be proud of.
— John McCain (@SenJohnMcCain) November 9, 2017
The Washington Post investigation into Roy Moore's alleged sexual misconduct included substantial steps to verify Corfman's claims:
Corfman described her story consistently in six interviews with The Post. The Post confirmed that her mother attended a hearing at the courthouse in February 1979 through divorce records. Moore’s office was down the hall from the courtroom.
“I have prayed over this,” Corfman told the Washington Post about her decision to come forward, despite her initial reluctance. “All I know is that I can’t sit back and let this continue, let him continue without the mask being removed.”
Romney's remarks on Moore come amidst swirling speculation that he would run for Senate in Utah if Sen. Orrin Hatch's (R-Utah) were to retire. Hatch's office has repeatedly denied rumors that the 83-year-old senator plans to retire at the end of his current term, but rumors that Romney will re-enter politics still persist.