INDIANAPOLIS – After a week of failing to take a stand, Indiana’s GOP Senate candidates have finally weighed in on the scandal enveloping Roy Moore, their fellow candidate in Alabama—but their position on reports of Moore’s pedophilia is softer than even many senior Republicans.
Rep. Braun and Congressman Rokita finally made statements yesterday evening after even more women came forward to say that Moore sexually molested them when they were teenagers, following Congressman Messer’s comments on Monday. Rep. Braun is the only one who has approached clarity on the matter, however, saying that “I think it’s probably time for him to move on… simply put, I think it’s time for him to maybe do something else.”
Congressmen Messer and Rokita, however, continue to stick to cowardly conditional statements that ignore overwhelming evidence and the voices of the women who have spoken out against Moore. Congressman Rokita stated that “If proven true, such behavior would naturally bar anyone from holding office,” while Congressman Messer said at an event in Greensburg that the “allegations are disturbing, and if they’re true, they would be disqualifying.” [Italics added.]
These comments are increasingly out of touch with their own party. More and more Republicans, including Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell, have come around to believing the women and have called for Moore to withdraw from the race. Even Senator Young, the leader of Indiana’s Republican congressional delegation, managed to claim Monday that Moore needed to drop out and that his behavior appeared to be “grossly reprehensible.”
Additionally, Congressman Rokita’s failings during the Moore scandal go well beyond his gutless comment. He still has yet to apologize to Hoosiers and renounce the controversial memo his campaign published in September claiming that he was following in Moore’s footsteps in Indiana. Instead, Congressman Rokita’s campaign has simply made excuses, and he’s come under scrutiny after saying that the memo, entitled “What Roy Moore’s victory in Alabama means for… IN Senate primary,” was not about Roy Moore specifically.
“There’s a difference between saying something and speaking out, as Hoosiers are being reminded after watching Congressmen Messer’s and Rokita’s gutless statements about Moore’s reported pedophilia,” said Will Baskin-Gerwitz, Senior Media Strategist for the Indiana Democratic Party. “Not only has Congressman Rokita shown he’s unwilling to grapple with the overwhelming evidence against Moore, but he still owes Hoosiers a proper explanation for his campaign’s memo saying he’d follow Moore’s lead in Indiana.”