After a fifth woman came forward on Monday to accuse Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore of sexually assaulting her when she was 16—coupled with new reporting that Moore was literally banned from the local mall for scoping out teen girls—Republican leaders in Washington are in full-on damage control, but they may have found the perfect solution.
As The New York Times reported on Monday, although Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said in a news conference he’s “looking at” the possibility of backing a write-in candidate in the December 12 special election, he’s privately discussing the idea of sending Attorney General Jeff Sessions back to fill his old seat, either as a write-in or as an appointment if Moore is elected and removed.
Two unnamed sources told the Times that McConnell supports the idea and went as far as raising it in a Monday call with Vice President Mike Pence about tax reform.
For the Republicans, this would seem to present a pretty win-win solution to a festering issue that seems to be spreading by the day. Sessions’ relationship with President Trump has deteriorated in an exceedingly public fashion. He reportedly berated his former campaign ally over his handling of the Russia probe and told Sessions he should resign, only to reject his resignation letter. This solution would allow the Republicans to fully divorce themselves from Moore—a candidate they backed through all the homophobia and racism—while also sending Sessions back to Alabama, where he’s still broadly liked, and away from Trump’s smoldering disdain.
The stakes are high for the Republicans. Should Moore win—a possibility that’s not at all remote among Alabama voters—the Senate GOP would likely face a months-long debate about whether to allow Moore to retain the seat, effectively killing any hope they had for a major legislative victory. It would also keep the Moore allegations in the news as the 2018 midterms approach, tying vulnerable Republicans all over the country to a man now best known for preying on children. The best move for the Republicans is to dispense with Moore as quickly as possible, lest their house of cards fall collapse completely.