POLITICS

Ex-RNC Chair Says 'Sanctimonious' GOP Needs To Find A 'Backbone' On Roy Moore

Republican Party judges people for "who they love" but won't reject a "pedophile," says Michael Steele.

12/05/2017 00:01 EST

The “sanctimonious” party that loves to tell people how to live needs to find a “backbone” and take a moral stand on Roy Moore and his Alabama race for the U.S. Senate, declared Michael Steele, former chair of the Republican National Committee.

“This political party, which has stood on the moral high ground for lo these 30-plus years, sanctimoniously telling people ... what they should do and what they shouldn’t do ... sanctimoniously judging people because of who they love and where they live, now has the temerity to step back and go, ‘Oh, well, I just think we just leave it to people to decide what they want to do.’ Really?” Steele asked incredulously on MSNBC on Monday.

“I wish more Republicans would find something related to a backbone” on Moore, said Steele, who predicted a “dear price” for the party next year for not condemning the Senate candidate. “Women and men around the country are looking at this and going, ‘I cannot believe that you value the vote of a pedophile over leading this country, over protecting women,’” Steele added. Donald Trump gave Moore his full support Monday, saying it was necessary to preserve GOP power in the Senate.

The RNC said Monday night that it had decided to reverse itself on supporting Moore, restoring fundraising help for his campaign.

Steele spoke out after Senate leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said in an interview Sunday that it’s “up to” the people of Alabama to decide the Senate race Dec. 12. It was a dramatic departure from his position just weeks ago when McConnell called for Moore to drop out of the race after a number of women accused Moore of pursuing them while they were teenagers and he was in his 30s. One woman told The Washington Post said she was just 14 when he took her to his home, partially undressed her and groped her. McConnell said last month that he believed the women.

Trump told Moore in a phone call Monday: “Go get ’em, Roy,” Moore boasted in a tweet.

Steele said the GOP lost its way when the “leadership decided to get down with the money, to get down with the deals, to get down with different relationships that took us on a pathway that here we are now.” There is “no more anchor to the party that allows it to look at what the president has said and done in this regard, and say, ‘Wait a minute, that’s not who we are.’

“We saw that when the president came down that escalator, stood before the American people and called out the Mexican-American community talking about criminals and so forth. ... That bright, shiny object represented by Trump was more alluring and more promising than actually going out and committing yourself to the American people.”

Check out the rest of the interview above.

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