Conventional wisdom should have suggested that the race for Jeff Sessions’ former Senate seat in Alabama should have ended when The Washington Post published a bombshell story about Republican candidate Roy Moore’s past. Several women claimed that Moore molested them in the 1980s, and also pursued teenage girls who were young enough to be his daughters.
But a number of polls show that this is not only still a race, but also show Moore leading his Democratic challenger, Doug Jones. It initially appeared that the main reason was that voters in this crimson-red state couldn’t stomach the idea of voting for a Democrat, especially a pro-choice Democrat–even if more and more evidence pointed to the Republican being a depraved and debauched jerk.
But a columnist for Moore’s loudest cheering section, Breitbart News, suggests that there may be another reason. Apparently, a lot of Moore’s supporters inside and outside Alabama think that Moore didn’t really do anything wrong.
On Monday’s edition of SiriusXM’s “Breitbart News Daily,” editor-in-chief Alex Marlow brought on editor-at-large John Nolte to discuss the Moore affair. Listen here.
It was obvious where this was going when Marlow asked Nolte why he wasn’t “buying the media spin on Roy Moore.” Marlow was referring to Nolte’s commentary on social media about the scandal, as well as a column he wrote on November 24 in which he claimed not enough had come out to justify the “annihilation of a fellow human being.”
Nolte expanded on this line on Monday. He said that even in a trial of public opinion, “in America, you give the benefit of the doubt to the accused.” While clarifying that he wasn’t sure whom to believe, he felt that based on the “fact checking” that has been done in the last month and Moore’s adamant denials, he should get the benefit of the doubt.
But that wasn’t the only factor in Nolte’s thinking.
“It’s also that the media and the Democrats are piling on with allegations about Roy Moore wanting to date teenagers. It’s not illegal, and at the time it wasn’t even a violation of social mores because unless you’re an urban elite provincial who doesn’t understand that there are different societies within America, 40 years ago it was not unheard of for a 30-year-old man to look for a much younger wife. And if he was trying to date a 16- or 17-year-old, I’m uncomfortable with that, I’ll admit that. But it’s not illegal. It’s not a violation of social mores.”
Nolte repeated his claim that the allegations against Moore weren’t enough to sentence him to “historical infamy.” Marlow agreed, saying that given the political stakes involved, Moore had to get the benefit of the doubt.
Marlow claimed that of the six accusations raised by The Post at the outset, three claimed that he pursued them when they were in their teens and Moore was in his 30s–something that, according to Marlow, was “not illegal.” One, Beverly Young Nelson, had been debunked because of questions about whether Moore really signed her yearbook. What Marlow didn’t tell you is that court documents prove Moore is lying about his role in Nelson’s 1999 divorce.
Another, Leigh Corfman, had an ax to grind against Moore and “a history of violence in her own right.” Marlow didn’t tell us that the Moore campaign supposedly has court documents that blow away Corfman’s story–but won’t share them.
That left Tina Johnson’s claim that Moore groped her in 1991. Marlow, like Nolte in his column, didn’t think that was enough to “end a guy’s career” and hand Sessions’ old seat to a Democrat.
So Breitbart would have us believe that all the talk about Moore chasing teenagers is a lot of fuss over nothing. If that’s true, then why did police in Moore’s hometown of Gadsden have to keep an eye on him at football games? That’s what retired Gadsden police officer Faye Gary told MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell on November 21. Watch here.
Gary, a 37-year police veteran, said that the scuttlebutt at both the Gadsden Police Department and the Etowah County courthouse that Moore “liked young girls,” and had been kicked out of Gadsden Mall for harassing the girls who worked there. She also said that she and her fellow cops were told to watch Moore at football games so he didn’t “hang around with the cheerleaders.”
At the time, Gary thought that when rumors flew around about Moore being interested in “young girls,” they were talking about 20-year-olds. It was only later that she found out they were talking about “14-year-olds.” The shock in her voice says it all–a guy in his 30s chasing after teenage girls in north-central Alabama would have been curious at best.
But apparently Steve Bannon and his crew at Breitbart don’t want you to know that. If they’d bothered to talk with Gary or any other cop in Gadsden back then, they would have seen it.
(featured image courtesy Moore’s Facebook)