November 21, 2017 3:58 pm
Updated: November 21, 2017 5:18 pm

Donald Trump all but endorses Roy Moore despite allegations of child sex abuse

WATCH ABOVE: Roy Moore 'gives a total denial': Trump weighs-in on sexual misconduct accusations

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U.S. President Donald Trump discounted allegations of sexual assault against Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore and said Tuesday that voters should not support Moore’s “liberal” rival.

READ MORE: Roy Moore accuser details sexual assault: ‘I was a 14-year-old child’

Trump addressed the swirling controversy surrounding Moore for the first time since top Republican leaders called on Moore to step aside more than a week ago.

“We don’t need a liberal person in there,” Trump said of Moore’s rival, Democrat Doug Jones. “We don’t need somebody who’s soft on crime like Jones.”

WATCH: Don’t need a liberal Democrat: Trump talks Roy Moore sexual misconduct allegations

Trump said he will announce next week whether he will campaign on Moore’s behalf. Trump spoke to reporters Tuesday at the White House before leaving for a Thanksgiving break at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida.

Six women have accused the Republican Moore of pursuing romantic relationships with them when they were teenagers and he was an assistant district attorney in his 30s. Two have accused him of assault or molestation. Moore has denied the allegations.

WATCH: Donald Trump avoids questions on Roy Moore

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Trump dismissed questions from reporters about him backing a man accused of sexual assault over a man who is a Democrat. He pointed to Moore’s assertion that the candidate did nothing wrong.

“Roy Moore denies it, that’s all I can say,” Trump said. “He denies it.”

He also noted that the allegations came from behaviour alleged to have happened decades ago.

“Forty years is a long time,” Trump said, questioning why it took so long for Moore’s accusers to come forward.

READ MORE: Here’s why Alabama’s Christian conservatives support accused child molester Roy Moore

WATCH: People of Alabama should decide on Roy Moore: White House

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan, both Republicans, have both called on Moore to leave the race in light of the accusations. The Republican National Committee and the National Republican Senatorial Committee have pulled their support for Moore’s campaign.

The special election for the Alabama Senate seat is Dec. 12.

© 2017 The Canadian Press

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