US & Canada

Republicans renew support for Roy Moore amid abuse claims

Moore Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Moore speaks during a town hall event last month

The Republican National Committee (RNC) has renewed its support for a Senate candidate who is embroiled in child sex abuse allegations.

The move came hours after US President Donald Trump formally endorsed Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore.

The RNC pulled its support for Mr Moore last month amid fallout over sexual abuse allegations against him.

Several US senators who have previously called for Mr Roy to step aside have also appeared to soften their tone.

Seven women have come forward to accuse the former Alabama Supreme Court judge of sexual misconduct decades ago, including one woman who claims he molested her when she was 14 years old while he was in his 30's and working as an Alabama prosecutor.

Another woman alleges the judge had tried to rape her after he offered her a ride home from her job as a waitress.

Mr Moore denies the allegations against him, describing them as a "witch hunt".

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Mr Moore holds a narrow lead over his Democratic opponent in the Alabama special election, polling shows

The RNC's decision allows the campaign to access so-called get-out-the-vote funds.

Polling shows Mr Moore has a narrow lead over his Democratic opponent, Doug Jones, a week before the Alabama special election to replace Attorney General Jeff Session on 12 December.

The decision was first reported by right-wing news website Breitbart, which quoted an RNC official as saying: "We stand with the president".

"We need Republican Roy Moore to win in Alabama," Mr Trump said in a tweet on Monday. The White House.

It is not yet clear if the National Republican Senatorial Committee - which is led by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell - will restore its relationship with Mr Moore after previously cutting ties following the allegations.

A number of Senate Republicans, including Mr McConnell, had called on Mr Moore to quit the race but he has refused to stand aside.

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Media caption'I was terrified' says Moore accuser

Mr McConnell on Monday walked back his earlier criticism, saying Alabama voters should "make the call".

Steve Bannon, a former senior chief strategist to Mr Trump, is due to appear at a campaign for Mr Moore on Tuesday night in Fairhope, Alabama.

If Mr Moore wins, he is reportedly expected to face an investigation by the Senate Select Committee on Ethics.

On Monday Texas Senator John Cornyn, the second-ranking Republican senator, said he would support a congressional ethics probe, but did not go further to criticise Mr Moore.

"None of us get to vote on who's the senator from Alabama. Just Alabama voters do. So I think we have to respect their decision - whatever it is," he said.

Meanwhile, former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney says Mr Moore's presence in the US Senate would be a "stain" on the Republican party.

"No vote, no majority is worth losing our honor, our integrity," he wrote on Twitter on Monday.

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