CNN  — 

President Donald Trump is not known for being shy when it comes to hot-button political questions. But he was unusually quiet when it came to the scandal enveloping Alabama Republican Roy Moore’s Senate campaign, only addressing it directly a week after returning to the US – on Tuesday afternoon – when he told reporters outside the White House he was standing by the GOP nominee.

“He denies it. Look, he denies it,” Trump said of Moore. “If you look at all the things that have happened over the last 48 hours. He totally denies hit. He says it didn’t happen.”

The President also expressed vehement opposition to Doug Jones, the Democrat in the race and Moore’s only major opponent.

“We don’t need a liberal Democrat in that seat,” Trump said, adding that Jones is “bad on crime” and other issues.

On Thursday afternoon, November 9, The Washington Post had published a report detailing allegations that Moore, the Republican nominee, pursued sexual relationships with teenagers when he was in his early 30s.

One of them, Leigh Corfman, said she was 14 years old when Moore, then 32, initiated sexual contact with her. Three others told the Post that Moore had sought them out when they were teens. Last week, another Alabama woman came forward and accused Moore of sexually assaulting her when she was 16.

Moore has denied it all and has vowed to carry on with his campaign. The special election is slated for December 12.

Trump’s Tuesday remarks put space between him and the Republican establishment, which has backed away from Moore.

During his trip to Asia, Trump had promised a more detailed statement when he returned to the US. He arrived back a week ago, at around 9 p.m. ET. Since then, he tweeted regularly – but never addressed the Moore situation. And given Trump’s delight in sharing his thoughts on almost every issue in American life, his near-silence on this one stood out.

So, we waited – and watched the clock (literally here).