Republican Party backs Senate candidate Moore: official

(Reuters) - The Republican Party will resume funding the U.S. Senate campaign of Roy Moore after President Donald Trump endorsed the Alabama Republican, who is accused of sexual misconduct involving teenage girls.

The Republican National Committee had transferred $50,000 to the Alabama Republican Party in support of Moore, an RNC official said on Tuesday. No RNC staff have been deployed to the state.

The state party can use the money as it sees fit, the official told Reuters on condition of anonymity.

Later on Tuesday, an RNC official said a second transfer for the sum of $120,000 was made to the Alabama state Republican Party on Moore’s behalf, making the total $170,000.

The RNC cut ties with Moore last month after several women accused the former Alabama judge of sexual assault or misconduct when they were teenagers and Moore was in his early 30s.

Moore, 70, has denied the accusations. Reuters has not independently verified the reports.

On Monday, the White House said Trump had called Moore to give him his support. In a tweet that acknowledged the president’s endorsement, Moore quoted Trump as saying: “Go get ‘em, Roy!”

In a sign of the deep divide within the Republican Party around the allegations facing Moore, former U.S. presidential candidate Mitt Romney criticized Trump’s endorsement, as did former RNC Chairman Michael Steele.

“Roy Moore in the U.S. Senate would be a stain on the GOP and on the nation,” Romney wrote on Twitter.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said last month he believed Moore’s accusers and joined other senators in urging him to quit the race. But on Sunday, the Republican McConnell said it was up to Alabama voters to decide whether to send Moore to Washington.

Moore will face off with Democratic candidate and former U.S. Attorney Doug Jones in a special election on Dec. 12.

“As I have said before - I believe these women. And so should you,” Jones said in speech on Tuesday.

At the White House, Trump told reporters he thought Moore was going to do “very well” in next week’s election.

“We don’t want to have a liberal Democrat in Alabama,” Trump said. “We want strong borders, we want stopping crime, we want to have the things that we represent. And we certainly don’t want to have a liberal Democrat that’s controlled by Nancy Pelosi and controlled by Chuck Schumer,” he added in reference to the Democratic leaders of the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate.

Reporting by Steve Holland and Roberta Rampton; Writing by Maria Caspani; Editing by Cynthia Osterman and Peter Cooney