Roy Moore (AP/Brynn Anderson)

Breitbart editor: We defended Roy Moore to protect Donald Trump

The editor-in-chief admits the candidate was "terrible," but that supporting Trump left him with "no option"


Gabriel Bell
December 15, 2017 5:59PM (UTC)

The editor-in-chief of the ultra-conservative, Steve Bannon-run news outlet Breitbart admitted during a radio broadcast Friday morning that his team's defense of defeated Alabama senatorial candidate Roy Moore was a bid to protect President Donald Trump from the potential fallout from the various accusations of sexual misconduct against him.

During Friday morning's broadcast of the SiriusXM Patriot station's "Breitbart News Daily" program, host and editor-in-chief Alex Marlow stated in no uncertain terms that Moore was a "horrible," "terrible" candidate, though the media property's allegiance to Trump left him with "no option" but to defend his positions and his alleged behavior.

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Multiple women have alleged that both the president and Moore either harassed or assaulted them in their years before taking elected office.

"There was no option to throw Judge [Roy] Moore under the bus," said Marlow. "If you set the standard that Roy Moore, who was accused of abusing five women . . .  If you make that the standard, the left is going to use it to take out President Trump."

Marlow continued to cast doubt on the credibility of Moore's accusers, but reinforced the notion that, at the end of the day, his publication's support of the Alabama candidate was not about the contender himself.

"There was never any reason to cave unless you have a  . . .  unless you would like President Trump to get removed from office," he continued. "And if not even removed from office, at least have massive distractions from his agenda so that we never accomplish anything for the remainder of the president's term."
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Marlow added that "much of the Republican Party" would like to see the president's leadership derailed on those terms. "Much of the Republican Party does not see that as a negative," he said.

He continued his critique of Moore. "When you've got a race when you've got a horrible candidate. Let's not  — you guys are being too polite about Roy Moore — he was a terrible candidate," he said. "His message did not resonate, he had all the baggage, he had the scandal. When he'd run for statewide office he'd only won in very tight races or relatively tight, considering he's the Republican. Roy Moore was not a good candidate at all."

Throughout the contentious 2017 Alabama special election to replace Jeff Sessions, whom Trump nominated for Attorney General shortly after he won the presidency, Breitbart was one of Moore's more active, vociferous defenders. Working hard to deny the many claims of sexual misconduct against him, forward the candidate's bizarre, often unconstitutional positions and cast aspersions on his opponents — first GOP primary candidate Luther Strange and then Democratic contender and eventual victor Doug Jones — Breitbart became a sort of mouthpiece for the Moore campaign, even when the campaign could barely speak on its own behalf.

Indeed, Breitbart leader and former Trump White House advisor Steve Bannon directly campaigned for Moore, framing the candidate as a Trumpian, anti-establishment vanguard of a new ultra-conservative takeover of Congress (even though the president backed Strange in the primaries). It seems now that even Bannon's underlings knew Moore was a poor choice for Bannon's planned conservative insurrection, an effort that now appears dead in the water.

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As if it needs to be said, the cynicism of a news outlet backing a candidate it knows to be a poor politician — and perhaps an even worse person — for the benefit of another potentially equally compromised figure is titanic. But then again, there has never been anything idealistic or pure about Breitbart's support of the president or, indeed, the president's support of the hard-right racial, political and cultural agenda that publication and its followers espouse. They are all "useful idiots" for each other.

With that as the power exchange active in both conservative politics and conservative media, it only stands to reason that a "terrible," "horrible" candidate such as Moore would go so far and create so much noise standing on their shoulders.

Listen to the whole segment below.

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Gabriel Bell

Gabriel Bell is Salon's Deputy Culture Editor. Follow him on Twitter at @GabrielJBell

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