White House officials on Sunday continued to provide dubious explanations for their refusal to take a firm stance on the growing number of sexual misconduct allegations against Alabama GOP Senate candidate Roy Moore, more than a week after the first accusations came to light.
In the same breath, White House budget director Mick Mulvaney affirmed that he thinks the women who have come forward are “credible,” but still would not say whether he believes that their charges are true.
“I believe they’re credible. I don’t know who to believe,” he said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
“You don’t believe them?” host Andrea Mitchell asked.
“No, I said they’re credible. I don’t know who to believe,” Mulvaney repeated.
“Well, if they’re credible, why wouldn’t you believe them?” Mitchell asked.
Mulvaney claimed that being in Washington meant that both he and Mitchell were not privy to “the specifics of these allegations,” and suggested her line of questioning came from “a certain political persuasion.”
“Andrea, I run the office of management and budget in Washington D.C. You work for NBC News in Washington D.C. My guess is we’ve not spent that much time looking at the specifics of these allegations,” he said. “You’ve arrived at a certain conclusion because of a certain political persuasion.”
Nearly 10 women have now come forward with allegations against Moore, 70, many of them involving him preying on teenage girls at a mall when he was in his 30s.
Moore has continually denied the stories, claiming they are a conspiracy against him, constructed by reporters and establishment Republicans in Washington.
Asked why President Donald Trump continues to ignore questions about Moore, Mulvaney reiterated the administration’s talking points. He said “the allegations are very serious,” but the decision whether to believe them and whether to support the candidate in Alabama’s Dec. 12 Senate special election is “up to the voters.”
On ABC’s “This Week,” White House legislative affairs director Marc Short dodged several questions on whether Trump “believes the women,” offering a similar explanation.
“I think he thinks it’s best for the people of Alabama to make that decision,” Short said.
Despite his silence on Moore, Trump on Thursday seized upon an allegation of sexual misconduct against Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.).
Mulvaney argued that the situations were different because “Franken admits it and Roy Moore denies it.”