CNN asked GOP senators where they stand on Moore
Many are waiting until after the election to respond
What should happen to Roy Moore if he’s elected to the US Senate? CNN reached out to all Republican Senate offices – with the exception of outgoing Sen. Luther Strange – for their thoughts.
Many are waiting until after the election to respond. Of those who did weigh in, most are taking a “wait-and-see” approach depending on the election results. For those who didn’t respond, CNN lists below their latest on-the-record statement about Moore’s campaign.
CNN’s Manu Raju and Ted Barrett reported that Republican leadership isn’t committing at the moment to giving Moore committee seats, saying they’ll approach that later.
Where they stand:
Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky is the lone Republican who won’t say whether he still supports Moore.
Sens. Jim Risch of Idaho, Pat Roberts of Kansas and Sen. Johnny Isakson of Georgia are all members of the Ethics Committee, the panel which could potentially investigate Moore, and have declined to comment because of their role in that would-be probe.
Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tennessee – “As Sen. McConnell has said, Roy Moore will have issues with the Senate Ethics Committee if he is elected, and I expect they will conduct a thorough investigation.” (Statement to CNN on 12/11)
Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyoming – “If true, he should move aside.” (Interview with CNBC on 11/20)
Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Missouri – “Well, there are already a couple of members that are likely to face one and he might, too. But you know, the last two senators expelled from the Senate were the two Missouri senators in 1862, so expulsion is not something that the Senate has thought was the business of the Senate.” (Comment on 12/5)
Sen. John Boozman, R-Arkansas – “Sen. Boozman has called on Roy Moore to withdraw from the race.” (Spokeswoman to CNN on 12/11)
Sen. Richard Burr, R-North Carolina – “If any aspect of The Washington Post story is true, he should do the right thing and withdraw.” (Statement on 11/13)
Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-West Virginia – “There are a lot of unanswered questions, and we will see what happens in the election.” (Comment to CNN on whether Moore should get a committee assignment on 12/11)
Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-Louisiana – “Based on the allegations against Roy Moore, his response and what is known, I withdraw support.” (Statement on 11/11)
Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Mississippi – “The disturbing behavior in the allegations involving Judge Moore is alarming. It seems continuing his candidacy may not be in the best interest of his state or the US Senate.” (Statement on 11/15)
Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine – “If the voters of the state, fully knowing all of these allegations, nevertheless choose to elect Roy Moore, is it appropriate for the Senate to expel him?” Collins asked. “I think that’s a really difficult question, and I don’t know the answer to that yet.” (Christian Science Monitor breakfast on 11/30) “If the allegations are known prior to the election, which they weren’t in the case of Al Franken, for example, then we have a very tough decision to make about whether it’s our role as senators to overturn the will of the people. Now, I think it’s a different situation if the allegations are not known, or if they occur while the person is sitting in the Senate.” (Interview with CBS’ “Face the Nation” on 12/10)
Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas – “None of that has been discussed or decided.” (Comment on 12/11 on whether Moore will get committee assignments)
Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tennessee – “Let’s see what happens tomorrow. Let’s address it after that. I’ve spoken very clearly on the issue. Let’s see what happens.” (Comment to reporters on 12/11 on whether Moore should be accepted into the GOP conference)
Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Arkansas – “As far as Roy Moore goes, I’m not going to speculate about what may happen should he win. We’re three weeks out from the election, he made it pretty clear this week that he’s not going to step aside … it’s up to the people of Alabama to make that decision.” (Interview with CBS’ “Face The Nation” on 11/19)
Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho – CNN has reached out to Crapo’s office for comment and has not yet received a response.
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas – “Of course not,” Cruz said when asked on Fox News’ “Your World with Neil Cavuto” if Moore should be thrown out of the Senate if he wins the special election. “We’ve got to respect the will of the voters”….”If the voters of Alabama choose to elect him, for some Washington politicians to say that we don’t care what the voters say, I think that would be a mistake.”
Sen. Steve Daines, R-Montana – “These are very serious allegations, and if true, he should step down.” Later, in a tweet, he said: “I am pulling my endorsement and support for Roy Moore for US Senate.” (November)
Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa – “Sen. Ernst has said if the allegations are true, he needs to step aside.” (As cited by ABC News on 11/15)
Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyoming – CNN has reached out to Crapo’s office for comment and has not yet received a response.
Sen. Deb Fischer, R-Nebraska – “If the allegations are true, he needs to withdraw from the race.” (As cited by the Omaha World-Herald on 11/16)
Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Arizona – “I hope that Alabama voters choose the Democrats.” And if not? “We’ll see.” (Comment to reporters on 12/11)
Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colorado – “Roy Moore will never have the support of the senatorial committee. We will never endorse him. We won’t support him … I won’t let that happen. Nothing will change. I stand by my previous statement.” (Comment to the Weekly Standard on 12/7) “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.” (Statement on 11/13)
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina – “If he wins … there will be an investigation and each senator will have to determine the qualifications for the body itself. I’ll have a hard time, quite frankly, keeping somebody in the body that I think molested a child, but we’ll see what happens”… “If running as a 2018 Republican, Roy Moore becomes your best friend. You will be asked about 10,000 times what do you think about Roy Moore. Roy Moore will be the gift that keeps on giving for Democrats and define the 2018 election, at least 2018, and to think you can elect Roy Moore without getting the baggage of Roy Moore is pretty naive. I wished he would have stepped aside. They’re going to have the election tomorrow. we’ll see what the people of Alabama say. but the Senate will also speak. There’s a process within the Senate to regulate membership of the body. From a political point of view there is no winning with Roy Moore.” (Interview with CNN on 12/11)
Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa – “He should step aside.” (Interview with KCCI-TV in November)
Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah – “I’m not going to comment on that right now, it seems to me that he needs to win first and then we can discuss that.” (Comment to reporters on 12/11)…. “Should Moore win, the Majority Leader has said that the Senate will hold an ethics investigation, and I expect that to be thorough.” (Town hall last week)
Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nevada – “I believe the women who have come forward … Roy Moore should do what is best for the conservatives of Alabama and step aside.” (Statement on 11/14)
Sen. John Hoeven, R-North Dakota – “I believe Roy Moore should step aside but the people of Alabama will ultimately make the decision. I’m not going to speculate beyond that as the election hasn’t occurred yet.” (Statement on 11/14)
Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Oklahoma – Do you support an ethics investigation? “Well let’s wait and see. I want to do the same thing that leadership is going to do.” (Comment to reporters on 12/11)
Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wisconsin – “Let’s see what happens tomorrow night and then we’ll respond to it.” (Comment to reporters on 12/11)
Sen. John Kennedy, R-Louisiana – “My point of view is if a candidate who is in his 30s took out a 14-year-old girl, undressed her, touched her, asked her to touch him, that’s a crime and he is not qualified to be a United States senator. Now, those are allegations. Mr. Moore denied them. And he is not going to quit. Now the people of Alabama get a say. If Mr. Moore is elected he will be seated under the law. He has to be. Somebody will file an ethics complaint … That’s just a fact. Then there will be a full-fledged investigation. People will be talked to under oath. And the Senate will get to vote. I try not to prejudge the facts. I haven’t endorsed anybody in the race. Don’t intend to. it is up to the people of Alabama right now. Some of my colleagues have. They have weighed in on both sides. That’s their business. I never have trouble paddling my own canoe.” (Interview on CNN on 12/6)
Sen. James Lankford, R-Oklahoma – “In light of these allegations, I wished Roy Moore had stepped aside and let another Republican run, but that didn’t happen. I am not a voter in Alabama, so my say really doesn’t matter. However, these allegations aren’t going away and there will be an ethics investigation in the Senate, if he wins. Accusations of harassment must be taken very seriously. Everyone deserves due process, but Mr. Moore needs to clear his name.” (Statement to CNN on 12/11)
Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah – “We are not going to have anything new on Judge Moore till Wednesday.” Spokesman to CNN on 12/11
Lee withdrew his endorsement of Moore on 11/10.
Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kansas – He believes if the allegations are true, he should step aside. (As cited in the Kansas City Star on 11/10)
Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona -- “I’ve said from the beginning, to you and to others, we ought not to be in the race.” (Comment on 12/5)
Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky – “That’s a good conversation for sometime after tomorrow.” (To CNN on 12/11 on whether Moore will get committee assignments)
Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska – Lisa Murkowski said she would not endorse Moore. “The President’s going to do what the President’s going to do,” she said. (Cited in The Washington Post on 12/5)
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky – Has not withdrawn his endorsement of Roy Moore and declined to answer questions on 12/11 at the Capitol.
Sen. David Perdue, R-Georgia – “These allegations are very serious and if they’re true then in my opinion he should step down and withdraw from the race,” he said in an interview with C-SPAN (11/12)
Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio – “Rob has said many times he believes Roy Moore should step aside in light of the credible allegations that have been put forward, and he stands by that position. Leader McConnell has already stated that if Moore is elected, the Ethics Committee will review the allegations against him, and that would certainly be appropriate.” (Statement from spokeswoman on 12/11)
Sen. Mike Rounds, R-South Dakota – “If they are true, then he should seriously think about stepping aside.” (Comment on 11/9 as cited in the Washington Examiner)
Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida – “This information is before the voters of Alabama. And if they elect him and then you as a Senate have ethics hearings to remove him from office or something like that, that gets more complicated. That’s a little bit more difficult because voters will have this information before them when they vote for him if, in fact, he is elected.” (Interview with Fox News’ Laura Ingraham on 11/29)
Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Nebraska – Sasse was sharply critical last week of the RNC’s decision to support Moore. “This is a bad decision and very sad day,” he tweeted. “I believe the women–and RNC previously did too. What’s changed? Or is the party just indifferent?” Sasse tweeted that resuming financial support “sends a terrible message to victims,” adding, “If the political committee that I’m a part of (the National Republican Senatorial Committee) decides to contribute here, I will no longer be a donor to or fund-raiser for it.” (12/6)
Sen. Tim Scott, R-South Carolina – “Well, the Constitution requires us to (A) if he wins, and still an if he wins, if he wins we have to seat him. Then there will immediately be an ethics investigation. We’ll have a greater opportunity for us to look into all the issues, the allegations, and perhaps even talk with some of the folks who are witnesses. That will give us a clear picture. I’ve always said that so far, as far as I can tell, the allegations are significantly stronger than the denial. And I’m going to let my decision be made by the breadth of information and evidence that I’m able to review during that process.” (Interview with NBC’s “Meet the Press” on 12/10)
Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Alabama – Do you agree with Gardner that he should be expelled? “Well, if he wins on Tuesday, the Senate, under the Powell case out of the Supreme Court, will have to seat him. And we will see what happens after that. But I want to reiterate again I didn’t vote for Roy Moore. I wouldn’t vote for Roy Moore. I think the Republican Party can do better.” (Interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union” on 12/10)
Sen. Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska – “If these sickening claims are true, Mr. Moore should step aside” (Statement on 11/9)
Sen. Thom Tillis, R-North Carolina – “I think we have to first move with an ethics investigation. We need to examine the facts and let those facts lead us where they may” (Interview with BuzzFeed’s AM to DM show)
Sen. John Thune, R-South Dakota -- “I don’t understand that move,” Thune said of the RNC’s decision to support Moore. “I guess that’s consistent with what the president wants to see happen, but it’s not consistent with what I’ve been saying. I just think, again, we’re putting ourselves in a situation where we’re going to have a cloud of uncertainty and a cloud of distraction come January.” (As cited in Politico on 12/5)
Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pennsylvania – “Senator Toomey has made his preference known for a while now, which is that Roy Moore step aside and that voters consider writing in someone as opposed to selecting one of the candidates on the ballot. Should Roy Moore win, Senator Toomey supports an Ethics Committee investigation into the allegations made against him. Further decisions would be dependent upon the findings of the Ethics Committee’s investigation or in light of new information.” (Spokesman to CNN on 12/11)
Sen. Todd Young, R-Indiana – He said “we need to act to protect the integrity of the Senate” if Moore doesn’t step aside. (Statement on 11/13)
Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Mississippi – “I don’t know what the facts are,” Wicker said. “I do know that the charges are very very serious and if they’re true, he should do the right thing.” Still, Wicker made reference to the timing of the charges. “But they’re very very old charges,” added Senator Wicker. “You have to ask and I think people in Alabama will be asking why this hasn’t come out in the 40 years time with him running for so many offices.” (As cited by Mississippi News Now on 11/10)
This story has been updated with additional comments from senators.
CNN’s Manu Raju and Ted Barrett contributed to this report.