President TrumpDonald John TrumpSenate advances public lands bill in late-night vote Warren, Democrats urge Trump to back down from veto threat over changing Confederate-named bases Esper orders ‘After Action Review’ of National Guard’s role in protests MORE has offered a full-throated endorsement for controversial Alabama GOP Senate nominee Roy Moore, tweeting his support on Monday and then following up with a call to the candidate from Air Force One.
The backing comes just more than a week before the Dec. 12 election, and with polls showing Moore in a tight race with Democratic candidate Doug Jones.
Moore is facing multiple accusations of improper conduct from women, including one woman recounting a sexual encounter when was was 14 years old and the candidate was a 32-year-old prosecutor.
Moore’s campaign celebrated the call from the president in a statement on Monday, saying that Trump called Moore a “fighter” and told him he’s looking forward to Moore supporting his agenda in Washington.
The Moore campaign said Trump, who called the Alabamian while he was on his way to an event in Utah, told Moore, “Go get ’em Roy,” before hanging up the phone.
“I am honored to receive the support and endorsement of President Donald Trump. President Trump knows that the future of his conservative agenda in Congress hinges on this election. I look forward to fighting alongside the President to strengthen our military, secure our border, protect our gun rights, defend the sanctity of life, and confirm conservative judges to courts around this nation,” Moore said in a statement.
“We had a good conversation over the phone today and are working together towards conservative victory on December 12,” he said.
Moore’s wife, Kayla, broke the news of the call with a post on Facebook, where she said Trump offered his “full support” in Moore’s bid against Jones.
The telephone call, coupled with Trump’s supportive tweets earlier on Monday, shows Trump’s shift toward a full-throated endorsement after the White House spent weeks of trying to keep some distance from the scandal-marred candidate.
Trump is not traveling to Alabama to campaign for Moore, but does have an event planned in neighboring Pensacola, Fla., on Friday.
Moore is backed by Trump’s former White House strategist Stephen Bannon, but the president supported Sen. Luther StrangeLuther Johnson StrangeThe biggest political upsets of the decade State ‘certificate of need’ laws need to go GOP frets over nightmare scenario for Senate primaries MORE (R-Ala.) in the GOP primary.
Strange was also backed by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSenate advances public lands bill in late-night vote GOP senator to try to reverse requirement that Pentagon remove Confederate names from bases No, ‘blue states’ do not bail out ‘red states’ MORE (R-Ky.), who is no fan of Moore.
Still, McConnell on Sunday dialed back his opposition to Moore, saying the election would be decided by the people of Alabama.
Moore has been dogged by recent allegations about his conduct decades ago, including an accusation by one woman who said Moore touched her sexually when she was 14 and another said Moore sexually assaulted her when she was 16.
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The accusations prompted the National Republican Senatorial Committee and the Republican National Committee to pull fundraising support for Moore. But Trump’s White House had begun sending signals that they were warming to Moore ahead of Monday’s outright endorsement.
First, Trump and those close to him began arguing that a Democrat like Jones should not hold the seat. Then, Trump echoed Moore’s denials of the allegations in remarks to reporters just before Thanksgiving. Then, his campaign scheduled a campaign-style rally a short drive from the state border just days before the election.