Continuous claims by White House staff that President Donald Trump has personally addressed the Roy Moore issue are, in a nutshell, untrue.
Trump has not personally spoken to the media about his opinions on Moore, the U.S. Senate candidate from Alabama accused by more than half a dozen women of sexually assaulting or harassing them when they were teenagers.
Of course, everyone knows that the president himself has been accused of sexually assaulting and harassing twice as many women as have come forward to accuse Moore, so there’s that.
On Sunday, the logical gymnastics being performed by Trump’s people continued, this time with White House legislative director Marc Short. Short was grilled by George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s This Week, and appeared to nearly have an aneurysm trying to dodge the host’s questions.
Stephanolpoulos’ inquiries were pretty straightforward. “Does the president have any reason to doubt these young women who are making the allegations?” he asked.
To which Short replied, “George, I think that the vice president has well spoke out against this when the allegations came forth. The president has expressed his concern about this. As you noted, the president has not gone down to Alabama to campaign for Roy Moore since the primary concluded. We have serious concerns about the allegations been made, but we also believe that all of this information is out there for the people of Alabama…The people of Alabama know best what to do and the right decision to make here.”
Throughout the interview, Short repeated two central talking points: One, the fact that Trump hasn’t gone to Alabama to campaign for Moore somehow reveals whether or not he continues to support him; and two, AL voters will know “what to do,” whatever that means.
But Stephanopoulos wasn’t having it. “They may, but I’m asking you a direct question on behalf of the president. You work for the president. Does the president believe the women or not?” he asked.
“Obviously, George, if he did not believe that the women’s accusations were credible, he would be down campaigning for Roy Moore. He has not done that. He has concerns about the accusations. But he’s also concerned that these accusations are 38 years old...”
Stephanopoulos asked again.
“I think I’ve answered your question three times now,” Short replied.
“Is he still backing Roy Moore?”
“I think that the right decision will be what the people of Alabama decide.”
“I know you think you’ve answered the question,” Stephanopoulos continued, “and I understand that you’re in a difficult position right here, but it’s a very simple yes or no. Does the president believe that Roy Moore should be the next senator from the state of Alabama?”
“The president, I think George, has made his perspective very clear on multiple occasions here. He has expressed concern about the allegations. But at this point, he is going to let the people of Alabama decide.”
Uh, no, he hasn’t made his perspective clear at all, especially after this train wreck of an interview.