President Donald Trump tweeted Wednesday that while he had "nothing" against former Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore, the highly controversial judge would not defeat Sen. Doug Jones (D., Ala.) in a potential rematch.
Moore, after upsetting appointed Sen. Luther Strange (R., Ala.) in the Republican primary, faced Jones in 2017 for the special election to fill the seat that had been vacated by Jeff Sessions. Jones narrowly defeated him in a stunning upset, largely due to multiple accusations against Moore of sexual misconduct with women when they were teenagers.
Trump supported Moore regardless at the time, but he bristled this week at reports Moore will seek the Republican nomination and try to beat Jones in 2020. Rep. Bradley Byrne (R., Ala.), who is running for the Republican Senate nomination, told the Hill Moore will launch his candidacy in June.
"Republicans cannot allow themselves to again lose the Senate seat in the Great State of Alabama. This time it will be for Six Years, not just Two. I have NOTHING against Roy Moore, and unlike many other Republican leaders, wanted him to win. But he didn’t, and probably won't," Trump tweeted.
"If Alabama does not elect a Republican to the Senate in 2020, many of the incredible gains that we have made during my Presidency may be lost, including our Pro-Life victories. Roy Moore cannot win, and the consequences will be devastating….Judges and Supreme Court Justices!" he added.
Moore's defeat was a bitter one for Republicans, who saw a winnable seat slip away in a state Trump carried by nearly 28 points in 2016. Jones's victory marked the first time Democrats won a U.S. Senate in Alabama since 1992, when Richard Shelby was elected. He later switched parties.
Republicans currently hold a 53-seat majority in the chamber, and knocking off Jones would be critical to maintaining their majority in 2020.
Moore steadfastly denied any sexual misconduct when the accusers came forward, although he admitted to dating teenagers with the permission of their mothers.
Moore also has a long history of inflammatory remarks during his career, such as stating he didn't believe former President Barack Obama was born in America, suggesting homosexual conduct should be illegal, and claiming without evidence that some communities in the United States were under Sharia law.
He was twice ousted from his post as Alabama Chief Justice for flouting federal law.