Alabama GOP Senate candidate Roy Moore dropped by Sean Hannity’s radio program Friday afternoon to respond to allegations that he’d pursued sexual encounters with four teenagers when he was in his 30s — including one woman who said she was 14 when Moore approached her.
And while he called the story “completely false and misleading,” he said he “didn’t dispute” that he used to date girls as young as 16.
Moore on whether he dated teenagers while in his 30s: “Not generally, no”
Hannity pressed Moore on whether he had dated girls in their teens when he was in 30s. “Not generally, no,” the former judge said in response.
It was one of many bizarre defenses offered by Moore, who denied the most explosive of the allegations in the Washington Post report — that as a 32-year-old in 1979 he had kissed and touched 14-year-old Leigh Corfman on multiple separate occasions.
“First, let me say this: These allegations are completely false and misleading,” Moore fired off, describing himself as a father and grandfather who has a “special concern for the protection of young ladies.”
But he also conceded that 40 years ago, he “dated a lot of young ladies.”
Moore: I never dated “any girl without the permission of her mother”
Moore said he never had contact with Corfman, but admitted he “recognized the names” of at least two of the women named in the Post investigation.
“I do recognize the names of two of these young women: Debbie Wesson and Gloria Thacker,” Moore told Hannity, though he contested the details of their stories. Wesson, named Debbie Wesson Gibson in the Post story, said she was 17 when Moore met her in a high school civics class, and they went on several dates.
“I seem to remember knowing her parents,” Moore said of Wesson Gibson, adding that he remembered her as a “good girl.” He claimed no inappropriate behavior ever took place.
Moore also added that he doesn’t “remember ever dating any girl without the permission of her mother.” Then, apparently referring to Wesson Gibson, Moore added that one woman “said her mother encouraged her.”
Then Hannity asked about Gloria Thacker (now Gloria Thacker Deason), who told the Post she met Moore when she was 18 and they went on dates where Moore offered her Mateus rosé wine. (The legal drinking age in Alabama at the time was 19, meaning Thacker Deason would have been drinking underage.) Moore’s denial here largely stemmed from the fact that it was, in his words, “a dry county.”
“We never would have had liquor,” Moore said, adding, “As I recall, she was 19 or older … that just never happened, I never provided alcohol [or] beer.”
But again, he didn’t deny knowing Thacker Deason. “I seemed to remember her as a good girl,” Moore said.
Moore says dating teens wouldn’t “have been his customary behavior”
Fox News has largely ignored coverage of the Moore scandal. Hannity derided the rush to judgment against Moore, but he bluntly asked Moore about each of the charges. In a final exchange, Hannity asked Moore if a man who was accused of what Moore has been accused of — dating a 14-year-old girl as a 32-year-old man — should be disqualified as a candidate for US Senate.
“If you abuse a 14-year-old, you shouldn’t be a Senate candidate,” Moore replied. “I agree with that.”
In a final exchange, Hannity pressed again on Moore’s age at the time of the alleged incidents, asking if he had dated teenage girls in his 30s.
“It would not have been my customary behavior,” Moore said.
Moore blames the Democrats and some sort of “collusion”
Moore, in denying the allegations, said that after 40 years of public service and five statewide campaigns, “this has never been brought up.”
“This never happened, they know it never happened, and obviously you don’t wait 40 years to bring up something like this,” he claimed.
Moore also claimed that he had “evidence of collusion, but we’re not ready to put this to the public just yet.”
He placed most of the blame on Democratic candidate Doug Jones, who he said manufactured the claims. “There will be facts to show that this was a Democrat, and maybe even establishment Republican, attempt to undermine the campaign because they don’t want to hear the truth in Washington,” Moore said.