Two key GOP senators who had endorsed embattled Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore rescinded that support Friday night.
Within one minute of each other on Twitter, Sens. Mike Lee of Utah and Steve Daines of Montana publicly announced they will no longer back the candidate, who is accused of sexually touching a 14-year-old girl when he was 32 and pursuing three other girls when they were 16, 17 and 19. The Washington Post first reported the accusations Thursday, which were later confirmed by CBS News.
Having read the detailed description of the incidents, as well as the response from Judge Moore and his campaign, I can no longer endorse his candidacy for the US Senate.— Mike Lee (@SenMikeLee) November 10, 2017
I am pulling my endorsement and support for Roy Moore for U.S. Senate.— Steve Daines (@SteveDaines) November 10, 2017
The statements from Daines and Lee come amid mounting pressure for Republicans to denounce Moore. A number of them have called for Moore to step aside, although the statements from Daines and Lee stopped short of that on Friday.
Lee's initial support for Moore, which he announced Oct. 16, was resounding.
"If there was ever a time to ensure that Republicans maintain a seat in the United States Senate, it is now," Lee said in a statement just weeks ago. "That is why I am proudly endorsing Judge Roy Moore for United States Senate. Alabamians have the chance to send a proven, conservative fighter to the United States Senate and I am more than ready to welcome a trusted ally."
On Sean Hannity's radio show Friday, Moore flatly denied the allegations that he touched the 14-year-old girl, or that he even knew her, but had a fuzzier memory as to whether or not he dated other teen girls in his 30s.
"I know her but I don't remember going out on dates. I know her as a friend. If we did go out on dates then we did," Moore said of one of the the women who said Moore pursued her in her teens.
Moore called the allegations politically motivated.
"This has waited over 40 years to bring a complaint four weeks out of an election," Moore said on Hannity's show. "It's obvious to the casual observer something's up. We're also doing an investigation and we have some evidence of some collusion here but we're not ready to put that to public just yet."
By KATHRYN WATSON, CBS NEWS
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