Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner says Senate should vote to expel Roy Moore if the Republican wins election in Alabama
Author: Ernest Luning - November 13, 2017 - Updated: November 13, 2017
U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner said Monday the Senate should vote to expel Roy Moore if the Republican nominee wins election in Alabama.
Gardner, the head of the Senate Republican campaign committee, said he believes the women who have accused Moore of sexual misconduct — including sexual contact with a 14-year-old girl and pursing relationships with other teenage girls decades ago when Moore was in his 30s — and said Moore is “unfit to serve in the Senate” and should end his campaign.
The National Republican Senatorial Committee, chaired by Gardner, on Friday withdrew from a joint fundraising agreement with Moore as the furor over the accusations grew.
Moore has denied the allegations, calling them a “desperate political attack by the National Democrat Party and the Washington Post on this campaign.”
On Monday, when a new accuser came forward alleging Moore assaulted her when she was 16, Moore called that allegation part of a “witch hunt.” A statement issued by his campaign said the 70-year-old Moore “has never had any sexual misconduct with anyone.”
“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 said in a statement. “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.”
When the accusations against Moore first surfaced last week, Gardner called them “deeply troubling” and called on Moore to drop out of the race if they were true.
Earlier on Monday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he believes Moore’s accusers and called on Moore to drop out.
The latest accuser, Beverly Young Nelson, said Moore assaulted her when she was 16 and he gave her a ride home from a restaurant where she worked.
Moore is running in the Dec. 12 special election against Democrat Doug Jones, a former federal prosecutor, to fill the seat vacated by Jeff Sessions, who was appointed attorney general by President Donald Trump. Moore defeated Luther Strange, the Republican who had been appointed to the seat, in a September primary.
Although the U.S. Constitution says both the House and Senate can “punish its members for disorderly behavior” by expelling members with a two-thirds vote, the Senate hasn’t expelled anyone since 1862, when it expelled 14 senators who supported the Confederacy.
In recent decades, senators have resigned under threat of expulsion. Those include Oregon Republican Bob Packwood, who faced charges of sexual misconduct and abuse of power in the mid-1990s, and New Jersey Democrat Harrison Williams, Jr., who was caught up in the Abscam scandal of the early 1980s.
If Moore wins the special election and is then expelled, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey, a Republican, could appoint another interim senator and schedule another special election.
“It’s premature to talk about expelling someone who hasn’t been elected,” said Texas Sen. John Cornyn, the chamber’s No. 2 Republican.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.