Roy Moore’s final rally Monday night in the Alabama Senate race was everything you might expect it to be – a political circus, with Steve Bannon, the one-time chief strategist in the Trump White House, serving as ringmaster.
For anyone who has watched Moore, it was familiar territory: Liberals and the media – and establishment Republicans! – are trying to tell us how to vote, trying to hoist their moral judgments on us. And we aren’t going to take it!
I picked out 11 of the strangest moments in the rally – just in case you don’t want to watch (or re-watch) the whole thing. They’re below – in the order I found them.
1. A Moore war buddy told a story about briefly walking into a brothel with Moore in Vietnam
Bill Stahle, who said he hadn’t seen Moore in more than four decades, gave a testimonial about Moore’s character that included the two of them unwittingly going to a brothel when they served together in the US Army in Vietnam. Here’s Stahle’s retelling of the night:
“Roy turned to me, and in less time than it took for someone to come up to us, and there were certainly pretty girls, and they were girls, they were young, some were probably very young, I don’t know, I don’t remember that I wasn’t there long enough. Roy said to me, ‘We shouldn’t be here, I’m leaving.’ Or words to that effect.”
So, even though there were “young” and “pretty” girls there, Moore left! Case closed.
2. Kayla Moore told the crowd they have Jewish friends
Moore’s wife, reading from prepared remarks (or notes) on a yellow legal pad, tried to defend her husband from charges that he is intolerant of others.
“Fake news will tell you that we don’t care for Jews,” Moore said. “One of our attorneys is a Jew. We have very close friends that are Jewish and rabbis and we also fellowship with them.”
3. Bannon touted the “Trump election miracle”
Bannon is nothing if not grandiose in his pronouncements. He didn’t disappoint on Monday night. “This is the Trump miracle versus the nullification project,” he insisted.
4. Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert compared Moore’s situation to a death penalty case
Gohmert, a Texas Republican House member, was a district court judge prior to joining Congress in 2004 and made reference to the allegations of inappropriate sexual conduct with teenagers while in his 30s against Moore.
“Even that guy I sentenced to death, I would have never forced him to trial in four weeks,” Gohmert recalled. “If someone waits 38 years to bring the allegations that would destroy a person’s life, shouldn’t they have more than four weeks to defend themselves?”
5. Bannon made fun of Ivanka Trump
Ivanka Trump drew massive amounts of national attention when she said that “there’s a special place in hell for people who prey on children” in regard to the accusations against Moore. Bannon mocked Ivanka Trump’s phrasing on Monday night when he said: “There is a special place in hell for Republicans who know better” – referring to the likes of Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Alabama) who aren’t supporting Moore.
If you think Bannon’s use of the “there’s a special place in hell” language was a coincidence, the fact that he paused after uttering the first part of the phrase – waiting for the cheers and jeers – tells you it wasn’t.
6. Moore referred to Shelby and other lawmakers as “alligators”
“I don’t know if you remember this but it is difficult to drain the swamp when you are up to your neck in alligators and that is where we are, we are up to our neck in alligators,” Moore said.
7. Gohmert compared the Moore accusers to the story of Jezebel in the Bible
If you don’t know that story, it’s the one in which a woman’s false accusations lead to a man’s wrongful death. So, yeah.
8. One speaker said the media hated Alabama voters
“They hate you and hold in contempt everything that you hold dear, including your way of life and your precious Christian faith.”
9. Another called the race a “high-tech lynching”
No comment needed.
10. Bannon made fun of the fact that MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough went to the University of Alabama
Bannon said that he went to better schools – Georgetown and Harvard – than Scarborough, who is an Alabama native and went to the University of Alabama. Scarborough shot back on Twitter: “Hey Bannon, you only went to Harvard because you couldn’t get into Alabama. #RollDamnTide”
11. Moore tells Republicans not to vote for him (sort of)
“One thing I don’t like what the media has said is a lot of people who are Republicans claim they are going to vote for me and just ignore what they believe,” said Moore. “I am going to tell you if you don’t believe in my character, don’t vote for me.”