White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Friday that President Donald Trump believes if the allegations of sexual misconduct against Alabama Republican Senate hopeful Roy Moore are true, he should withdraw from the race.
CNN noted that Trump’s claims against the former judge were curbed by his assertion in the statement by Sanders that a "mere allegation" should not be enough to "destroy a person’s life."
"Like most Americans, the president believes we cannot allow a mere allegation, in this case one from many years ago, to destroy a person’s life," Sanders said. "The president also believes that if these allegations are true, Judge Moore will do the right thing and step aside."
A Washington Post article reported on four women who say Moore pursued relationships with them as teenagers when he was in his 30s; one of them was 14 when she said he initiated sexual contact between them.
With a month to go before the election, Republicans responded swiftly to the story.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) and other Senate Republicans called for Moore to step aside if the allegations were true, and Vice President Mike Pence issued a statement through his press secretary Alyssa Farah.
"The vice president found the allegations in the story disturbing and believe, if true, this would disqualify anyone from serving in office," Farah said.
Sen. John McCain (R., Ariz.) did not condition his statement, tweeting the allegations against Moore were disqualifying.
Moore has denied the allegations.
Sanders said in her Friday statement that Trump will not be distracted by the story during his Asia trip.
"The president must and will remain focused on representing our country on his historic trip to Asia, where he has been treated with great respect and made unprecedented progress in further strengthening alliances and promoting America’s interest above all else," Sanders said.