Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore was in Huntsville for a campaign event Sunday evening.
About 200 or so supporters, and a handful of respectful dissenters, turned out for the forum hosted by the Christian Citizen Task Force at Huntsville Christian Academy.
The event was open to the public, but not to the media, who were kept nearly 100 yards away from the venue’s entrance by multiple layers of strategically placed parking attendants.
The doors opened in the school’s gym at 6 p.m., giving those on hand ample time to settle into their seats before the speaking program kicked off at 6:30.
Though he reportedly drove in from Gadsden prior to the event, and returned right after, Moore was right on time. He spent time greeting event organizers as stragglers at the “Roy Moore for Senate” merchandise table collected their complimentary yard signs and bumper stickers.
A passionate introduction concluded with a “promise that everything you hear from Judge Roy Moore’s lips will be true.” And then he took the stage.
Moore spoke at length about history, religion, prayer in school, kneeling during the national anthem and his time in the service, but it was clear he was eager to address the elephant in the room.
The elephant, of course, being the Washington Post’s recent report alleging he pursued relationships with teenage girls as young as 14 when he was a prosecutor in his 30s.
Moore’s (condensed) response to the Washington Post report:
These attacks that involve a minor child are completely unfalse (sic) and untrue, and for which they will be sued.
They’re very hurtful and also allege things that happened over 40 years ago. Some of y’all aren’t even old enough to remember 40 years ago because you weren’t born. But if you were born, it’s difficult to go back and remember everything 40 years ago.
But I’ve been married for 33 years … We have four children. And I have a daughter. And I have five granddaughters. And I have the highest regard for the protection of young ladies.
To be attacked for allegations of sexual impropriety contradicts my entire career in law
Moore went on to repeatedly question the timing of the report, saying its release just 30 days prior to the general election “is incomprehensible.”
“Why do they come now,” Moore asked the crowd before answering the question.
He said neither Democrats nor the Republican establishment, which he said has spent over $30 million supporting his opponents, want to see him in the United States Senate.
He added, “They’re desperate.”
Moore concluded his defense:
This article is a prime example of fake news. It’s an attempt to divert attention from the true issues facing our country, like healthcare, military readiness, immigration and the national debt.
We do not intend to let the Democrats. We do not intend to let the establishment Republicans. We do not intend to anybody deter us from finishing this race. We fully expect the people of Alabama to see through this charade and we will continue our efforts.
The allegations against him didn’t come up again during the sternly moderated question and answer session, with the exception of this brief exchange:
Question: “Judge Moore, how soon will you be able to initiate your lawsuit on the Washington Post?”
Answer: “Well, as soon as we get all the investigations done, we’re doing it. You realize this just occurred last week, and now we’re finding a lot of things that need to be brought to the public light that haven’t been yet. As soon as that’s done, we will file.
Getting beyond the sexual allegations and subsequent fallout, Moore did find time to speak on a few other issues he was quizzed about by those brave enough to stand in line and willing to risk being scolded if they didn’t get to their question fast enough.
One attendee asked if he supported term limits, to which he responded yes. Moore said he’d be in favor of no more than six (two-year) terms for members of Congress and three (six-year) terms for Senators.
With tax reform being the GOP’s current top priority, Moore managed to work in a little bit about taxes while answering a question about being a Republican vs. a “true Conservative.”
I believe in lower taxes. In fact, I’d like to do away with the tax system. I know that’s shocking to a lot of people, but I believe we can do away with the way we tax on income. We need to go to a fair tax. …
I want to go to a tax system where you’re not taxed at all unless you buy something. If you can afford it, you can buy it. You’ll pay a greater tax. But then YOU choose when you pay the tax. You choose how much tax you pay.
A very wealthy person is gonna buy a new yacht…gonna buy a new car…but I’ll tell you this…everybody can buy a new car if they can afford it. Unless you wanna conserve your money like I do and always get used cars.
That statement, like most of his declarations and attempts at mild humor, was met with generous laughs and applause.
Overall, it was a good night for Moore, whose team obviously went to great lengths to ensure he was speaking to a largely welcoming crowd.
And they got what they came to see too. Moore was unapologetic and unyielding with his beliefs, dismissing the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment and insisting, ““we need to recognize that our constitution would not exist without God’s law.”
Despite already preaching to the converted, Moore also encouraged everyone to get out and vote on December 12.
“I hope that you’ll consider me. If nothing else, they don’t want me,” he said.
Moore added, “My intent is to take that knowledge of God back to the United States Senate.”
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