This week, President Trump spoke out on the Senate race in Alabama, where Republican Roy Moore is fighting allegations of sexual misconduct toward young women approximately 40 years ago. While many Republicans have repudiated Moore and called on him to step down, he refuses and denies all the allegations (his attorneys are pointing out inconsistencies in his accusers’ claims, the latest of which are in the story at the link). Trump said it’s good for women that these past examples of sexual misconduct are coming up, but you have to listen to Moore, too, and he “totally denies” all the charges. Trump didn’t say whether he would campaign for Moore, but he said we don’t need a Democrat in that seat who will be bad on crime, the border, immigration and the Second Amendment.
Naturally, Trump’s comments set off a firestorm among liberal media members, who accused Republicans of defending one of their own who’s accused of sexual misconduct while Democrats are demanding investigations of Al Franken and John Conyers. That’s pretty rich, coming from the people who created the template that “character doesn’t matter” when they circled the wagons around Bill Clinton even after he was accused of violent rape. Michelle Goldberg, the New York Times columnist who set off shock waves just days ago by saying she believed Juanita Broaddrick, is already backpedaling on her call for Al Franken to resign because he’s a liberal and she wants him to stay in the Senate. And I don’t hear many calls for Conyers to resign before he’s investigated.
Frankly, I think that at the moment, it’s impossible for anyone to occupy the “high ground” because nobody knows where it is. Everyone wants to believe the women and side with the victims. But the timing is very suspicious, there has still been no evidence presented, no trial, the accused flatly denies the charges, and one of our bedrock principles is that everyone is presumed innocent until proven guilty. The past few years have seen an erosion in due process rights on campus, where any accusation of sexual assault was enough to destroy a young man’s life, and he wasn’t even allowed to defend himself. We should be stamping that idea out on campus, not spreading it to the wider culture.
It’s been a couple of weeks since this Roy Moore story first hit, and unless some evidence or a confession or withdrawal come before mid-December, the decision on whether Moore or Democrat Doug Jones will go to Washington is going to rest with the consciences of Alabama voters. If Moore wins and then evidence of his guilt arises, then he should immediately resign or be expelled. Same goes for any other Republican or any Democrat: if proven guilty, they should not hold high office, regardless of party.
But I’d remind everyone who is baying for a mob verdict of the words of one of the people who actually created the Senate, Benjamin Franklin: “It is better 100 guilty persons should escape than that one innocent person should suffer.”