DENVER – U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner, who chairs the National Republican Senatorial Committee, said Monday he believes the women who have alleged that Alabama candidate for senator Roy Moore made sexual advances on them decades ago, and said the Senate should vote to expel him from the seat should he win next month’s special election.
“I believe the individuals speaking out against Roy Moore spoke with courage and truth, proving he is unfit to serve in the United States Senate and he should not run for office,” Gardner, a Republican from Colorado, said in a prepared statement released by the NRSC.
“If he refuses to withdraw and wins, the Senate should vote to expel him, because he does not meet the ethical and moral requirements of the United States Senate.”
The calls for Moore to remove himself from the race intensified Monday, when Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Moore should “step aside,” saying that he believed the women who had made allegations against the Alabama judge.
And hours after McConnell made his statement, a second woman came forward publicly accusing Moore of groping her and making inappropriate comments toward her when she was 15 and 16 years old in 1975. She brought to a press conference announcing the allegations a copy of a letter Moore signed in her yearbook at the time, in which he called her “beautiful.”
The new statement from Gardner could be a death blow to Moore’s Senate hopes. As chair of the NRSC, Gardner is in charge of helping elect and re-elect Republicans to the U.S. Senate, and helps control where national committees send money in election bids.
He said last week when The Washington Post first reported the initial allegations against Moore that, “if true,” the allegations meant Moore should drop out of the race. He called the allegations “deeply troubling” at the time.
A day later, the NRSC had ended its joint fundraising agreement with Moore, who defeated the President Trump-backed Luther Strange in a September primary for the seat, which was vacated by Jeff Sessions when he accepted the attorney general role.
Gardner and the NRSC endorsed Moore in September after his primary win, saying at the time the NRSC’s focus was “always on keeping a strong Republican majority in the Senate.”
Should Moore win election, the Senate can vote to determine if he is unfit for office and reject his nomination despite the voters' will in accordance with the U.S. Constitution. Only 15 people have been expelled from the Senate in U.S. history, and all but one of the expulsions happened because of those people's ties to the Confederacy.
Alabama’s secretary of state has said it is too late for Moore’s name to be removed from the ballot, as absentee and overseas ballots have already been sent out. Moore faces Democrat Doug Jones in the Dec. 12 special election.