Watch a reporter compare Roy Moore's alleged child sex abuse to stealing a lawn mower

"We're not talking about an actual crime here," said Brandon Moseley

Published November 13, 2017 6:30PM (EST)

Roy Moore (AP/Hal Yeager)
Roy Moore (AP/Hal Yeager)

On Saturday, The Alabama Political Reporter’s Brandon Moseley appeared on "CNN Newsroom with Brooke Baldwin" to defend Roy Moore amidst the mounting allegations of sexual abuse against him.

It did not, as they say, go well.

Baldwin introduced Moseley as “someone who sides with Roy Moore” and who “just wrote an opinion piece on why he believes Roy Moore.”

Moore, now the Republican candidate in Alabama for U.S. Senator, had been accused by four women of sexual abuse or misconduct at the time of the interview; one of them, Leigh Corfman, was just 14 years old when the incident allegedly occurred in 1979. On Monday, another woman named Beverly Nelson came out to accuse Roy Moore of sexual assault when she was 16.

The interview started off with Baldwin asking Moseley why he supports Moore, to which he responded in part: “I’ve known Roy Moore, I’ve known Roy Moore for 20 years . . .  I think if this was a serious — if these allegations were out there and they were serious — I probably would’ve heard them.”

Baldwin followed up by asking why Moseley didn’t think these allegations were "serious."

“They're 38-year-old allegations,” Moseley responded. “This would be a misdemeanor at the time under the code of Alabama. The statute's been up since '86. If you go back and you don't elect anyone who's ever done anything wrong, we wouldn't have had Barack Obama. I think he did cocaine. Bill Clinton supposedly smoked marijuana.”

Yes, there are reports that both of those former presidents indulged in illegal drugs. What that has to do with child rape, exactly, is unclear at this stage.

Despite the attempted deflection, Baldwin got the interview back on track by clarifying the sexual consent laws in Alabama.

“Just so everyone’s on the same page, sexual consent in Alabama is 16, and you acknowledge that sexual contact with a 14-year-old would have been illegal and would be considered sexual abuse by the books today," she said. "But Brandon, you know, you make this argument that there wasn’t a law against sexual abuse in Alabama back in the ‘70s. So I just want to — let me ask: Are you saying that, because there wouldn't have been a law, according to you, that that would have made it okay back then?”

Moseley said no, and described Moore’s alleged actions as “a sin,” but went on to say that “we're not talking about an actual crime here under — that's prosecutable in 2017. I don't think you throw out 35 years of a man's career and his reputation because of an unsubstantiated allegation from 1979 that can't be proven either way.”

Baldwin responded that, according to Section 13A-6-67, Moore’s actions would have been considered sexual abuse dating back to 1977. When Moseley said it would have been a misdemeanor, Baldwin asked if that made it okay. Note that, along these lines, Moseley isn't doing much in the way of denying that the potential member of the Senate sexually abused a 14-year-old girl.

“No, but again, if, you know, Roy Moore had stolen a lawn mower when he was 21, that's bad," he continued, "but that's not a reason 50 years later to all of a sudden, you know, throw him off the ballot or let Mitch McConnell pick the next senator of Alabama.”

Having just heard a man incredibly compare the sexual abuse of multiple women to the theft of motorized landscaping hardware, Baldwin stayed firm and asked Moseley about his views on the similar allegations outstanding against President Donald Trump.

“I believe that President Trump, probably, at some point in his life, has acted inappropriately with women. He’s had three marriages, multiple mistresses,” he answered. Moseley went on to say that he “still voted for Donald Trump. I mean, as a Christian, I can forgive a past indiscretion, certainly one that’s not a crime at this time.”

According to Moseley, sexual assault stops being bad or even worthy of discussion once the statute of limitations passes. Those are mere "indiscretions" and certainly not worth ruining a man’s career over. 

Again for the right — and for many men — male careers and GOP congressional seats matter more than the Christian morals the movement claims as its rock and guide.

Moseley perhaps put it best in his own editorial:

A vote for [Democratic opponent Doug Jones] puts Chuck Schumer, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders one vote closer to control of the U.S. Senate, and the current Republican majority is just two seats.

Whatever you believed happened 38 years ago, that should not sway Alabamians from voting for the candidate who most closely shares our conservative Alabama values, and that is Roy Moore.

Even if you believe the allegations, even if you think child rape just happens to be wrong, the logic goes, it shouldn't matter. Those two Senate votes do.

See the whole interview below.

By Leigh C. Anderson

Leigh C. Anderson is an editorial intern at Salon.

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