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In his first public appearance since scandal rocked his campaign almost two weeks ago, Roy Moore adamantly denied all wrongdoing and railed against the forces allegedly conspiring against him Monday night.
While many of Moore's fellow Republicans abandoned him after nine women accused him of improperly pursuing them as teenagers, the Alabama Senate candidate said he is ready to wage a “spiritual battle” for vindication on his own. “I am going to take off some gloves and show the truth in this campaign,” Moore said.
“These allegations are completely false,” he continued at a rally in Fort Payne, Alabama. “They’re malicious. Specifically, I do not know any of these women. Nor have I ever engaged in sexual misconduct with anyone.”
Moore embraced Donald Trump closely a few days after the president broke with his own party’s congressional leaders to all-but endorse Moore. And he said both were victims of a smear campaign.
“It's no different then when the Washington Post brought out the Russian investigation at the time that President Trump is trying to get his agenda passed. That’s exactly what they’re doing,” Moore said of his own situation.
Moore had virtually disappeared from the public eye since the Washington Post reported the first allegations 11 days ago, giving only a few interviews to friendly news outlets. But he assured supporters he has been busy “doing all the campaign stuff” and “working really hard” behind the scenes.
Reading from handwritten notes on yellow paper and accompanied by his wife and children, Moore paced around a lectern as he condemned “transgenderism,” called for the impeachment and removal of “liberal judges,” and quoted Rudyard Kipling’s signature poem on manhood, “If," at length.
The conservative firebrand presented himself as the lone voice of morality with the courage to stand up to the status quo in Washington, which was now bent on destroying him at any cost ahead of the December 12 special election.
“I ask myself why? Why am I put in this position,” Moore said. “I want tell you. I have vowed when I go to Washington, D.C. as a United States Senator, to take a knowledge of the Constitution and the God upon whom it was founded to that city. They don’t want to hear it.”
It’s a similar theme to the one featured in a new TV ad Moore’s campaign released Monday, which features a photoshopped image of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell wearing a crown as cash spews out of the Capitol Dome.
Moore’s campaign has yet to specifically refute many of the allegations against him, some of which are corroborated by contemporaneous accounts and documentation, but Moore called them “lies,” “dirty politics,” and “a sign of the immorality of our time" — without going into any detail.
“The Republicans and Democrats in this election both have opposed me. So I'm kind of unifying the parties in a strange way,” he said in a rare moment of levity.
Polls show Moore in a surprisingly close race against Democrat Doug Jones, who stepped up his attacks on Moore's alleged relationship with teenagers after initially avoiding the issue.
In his roughly half-hour remarks, Moore acknowledged the campaign has been “rather strange,” as well as “long” and “grueling.”
“We’ve been ready for the end for a while,” he said.