December 5, 2017 / 1:59 PM / 4 months ago

Republican Party backs embattled Senate candidate Moore: official

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

FILE PHOTO: Judge Roy Moore participates in the Mid-Alabama Republican Club's Veterans Day Program in Vestavia Hills, Alabama, U.S., November 11, 2017. REUTERS/Marvin Gentry/File Photo

The Republican National Committee will return to the Alabama race to support Moore, an official said on Tuesday.

“We are the political arm of the president and we stand with the president,” the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

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 voiced strong opposition to Trump’s endorsement.

“Roy Moore in the U.S. Senate would be a stain on the GOP and on the nation,” Romney wrote on Twitter. “Leigh Corfman and other victims are courageous heroes. No vote, no majority is worth losing our honor, our integrity.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell last month said 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.

Trump’s former White House strategist Steve Bannon will campaign with Moore in Alabama on Tuesday, Breitbart News reported.

Reporting by Steve Holland; Writing by Maria Caspani; Editing by Steve Orlofsky

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