If Senate Democrats were hoping for another voice calling for President Donald Trump’s resignation over sexual misconduct allegations, they’re not going to find it in Doug Jones. The newly elected Democratic senator from Alabama, who will fill Jeff Sessions’s recently vacated seat, said that it’s time to move on. “Those allegations were made before the election, and so people had an opportunity to judge before that election,” Jones said of the more than dozen women who have accused Trump of sexual harassment and misconduct. (This in addition to being caught on an Access Hollywood tape bragging about sexually assaulting women.)
"I think we need to move on and not get distracted by those issues,” he added, speaking with CNN’s Jake Tapper on Sunday. “Let's get on with the real issues that are facing people of this country right now, and I don't think that the president ought to resign at this point. We'll see how things go. But certainly those allegations are not new, and he was elected with those allegations front and center.”
While it’s true that the allegations were made prior to last year’s election, the #MeToo movement and the recent slew of sexual misconduct allegations against multiple powerful men — including politicians — have pushed Trump’s past behavior back into the spotlight. The president’s accusers say he’s done everything from groping to barging into beauty pageant dressing rooms.
Sen.-elect Doug Jones of Alabama doesn’t join the several Senate Democrats calling for President Trump to step down: “I think we need to move on and not get distracted by those issues … I don’t think the President ought to resign right now” #CNNSOTU https://t.co/EAY9mhL1QI— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) December 17, 2017
Three of Trump’s accusers appeared on the Today show with Megyn Kelly on Monday to recount their stories. A number of Democratic senators have called on Trump to resign, including New York’s Kirsten Gillibrand. This week, Trump responded to Gillibrand with a sexist tweet.
Lightweight Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a total flunky for Chuck Schumer and someone who would come to my office “begging” for campaign contributions not so long ago (and would do anything for them), is now in the ring fighting against Trump. Very disloyal to Bill & Crooked-USED!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 12, 2017
Jones seems committed to keeping a distance from party leadership
After his surprise victory, Sen. Jones, a civil rights attorney, became the first Democrat to win an Alabama Senate seat in 25 years. As Vox’s Ella Nilsen noted, Jones has largely sought to keep a low profile on the national stage and, during his campaign, avoided talking about the multiple sexual misconduct allegations against his Republican rival, Roy Moore. Nilsen explained:
Jones is a moderate red-state Democrat who had been careful to keep his distance publicly from the national party and not appear too closely aligned with Democratic leadership in Congress, especially trying to appeal to Alabama’s conservative Democrats and independent voters. One of the main lines of attack on Jones came from President Trump, who frequently tweeted that Jones would be a “puppet” of Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.
Jones appears committed to keeping that distance, even if that means siding with the Republican Party line. Jones also told Tapper he would look for areas where he can work across the aisle. “I’m going to talk to people on both sides of the aisle, try to figure out what I think is in the best interest of my state and in the country,” he said.