Mitt Romney is among a growing chorus of Republicans in Utah condemning Alabama Senate hopeful Roy Moore. Moore is under fire after the Washington Post reported that he had sexual contact with a 14-year-old when he was 32.
In a tweet, Romney said he believed the woman, Leigh Corfman, who recounted her story to the Post about Moore’s sexual advances. He said her story is “too serious to ignore" and Moore should step aside.
Innocent until proven guilty is for criminal convictions, not elections. I believe Leigh Corfman. Her account is too serious to ignore. Moore is unfit for office and should step aside.
— Mitt Romney (@MittRomney) November 10, 2017
The statement was far stronger and far less equivocal than some comments by Utah’s own elected officials.
On Thursday, both Sens. Orrin Hatch and Mike Lee said if the allegations are true, that Moore should resign immediately.
As the scandal grew, however, Lee took to Twitter late Friday to say he could no longer support Moore's candidacy and pulled his endorsement.
Having read the detailed description of the incidents, as well as the response from Judge Moore and his campaign, I can no longer endorse his candidacy for the US Senate.
— Mike Lee (@SenMikeLee) November 10, 2017
Lee had just last month given his full backing to Moore. He praised the controversial, evangelical Republican after he won the Alabama primary, beating a more mainstream incumbent.
Lee’s office has asked Moore to stop using his picture in a fundraising ad.
Utah Rep. Chris Stewart also echoed Hatch’s and Lee’s comments in a Tweet.
If the allegations against Roy Moore are true, he should immediately withdraw his name and no longer pursue public service in the Senate.
— Rep. Chris Stewart (@RepChrisStewart) November 10, 2017
The scandal has created a massive headache for the GOP, as leaders seek to pass a sweeping overhaul of the tax code by the end of the year. Senate Republicans are also trying to maintain their two-seat majority ahead of the 2018 midterm elections.
This story will be updated.