US President Donald Trump today offered a political lifeline to an embattled Alabama Republican accused of preying on teenagers, echoing the would-be senator's denials and attacking his Democratic rival. "We don't need a liberal person in there, a Democrat," Trump said as he departed for a five-day holiday in Florida.
US Senate hopeful Roy Moore is accused of sexually inappropriate conduct with a string of teenage girls -- including a 14-year-old -- when he was in his 30s. Trump repeatedly pointed out that Moore "totally denies" the allegations. "You have to listen to him also," Trump added.
The White House had previously said that Trump thought the allegations against Moore were "extremely troubling." A number of Senate Republicans, including majority leader Mitch McConnell, have called on Moore to quit the race, but he has adamantly refused to do so.
The race has national repercussions, because Republicans hold only a slim 52-48 majority in Senate, and Trump has alienated some lawmakers from his own party. Trump also hit at Moore's rival Doug Jones -- a 63-year-old US Attorney who is currently ahead 47 per cent to 42 per cent in the polls. "I've looked at his record -- he's terrible on the border," Trump claimed.