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Even the White House suggests Roy Moore should concede

“Sounds like it should have already taken place,” the White House press secretary said.

Alabama GOP Senate Candidate Roy Moore Holds Election Night Party Joe Raedle/Getty Images
Jen Kirby is a senior foreign and national security reporter at Vox, where she covers global instability.

That fact that Doug Jones won the Alabama Senate special election on Tuesday is clear to everyone — except apparently to Roy Moore.

The Alabama Republican still refuses to concede the race, which he lost by more than 20,000 votes. Now even the White House — whose current occupant went all in for Moore — is basically telling him to give it up.

“Sounds like it should have already taken place,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Thursday during the daily press briefing, on whether Moore should have conceded.

Sanders said President Trump had already chatted with the Democrat, and now “likes Doug Jones and looks forward to meeting him in person.”

“I think the president’s position is pretty clear in his outreach to Doug Jones directly,” she said, regarding Trump’s position on Moore. “He called and they [Jones] spoke directly, they had a great conversation, a very positive conversation.”

When asked if Moore lost fair and square, Sanders replied: “I think the numbers reflect that, and I think the president’s outreach shows that.”

Maybe Trump’s apparent abandonment will push Moore to accept the election results. But so far, the former chief justice has only dug in since the election, releasing a video Wednesday in which he claims the “battle rages on.” In the four-minute video, he offers a dark vision of how American democracy is under threat from “abortion, sodomy, and materialism” — among other things.

“I believe the heart and soul of our country is at stake,” Moore says. “Like most Americans, I’m concerned about the future of our country, both financially and morally. After the election of Donald Trump, a little over a year ago, I saw a window of hope and opportunity that we could return to our founding principles and the Constitution of the United States.”

In the video, Moore said that both military and provisional ballots had not been counted. But it’s unlikely those votes will make up the difference Moore would need to beat Jones, who pulled in 49.9 percent of the vote to Moore’s 48.4 percent.

Moore’s refusal to concede fits with his public reputation, dating back to his tenure as chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court and his defiance of the orders to remove a monument of the Ten Commandments from the state judicial building, which got him kicked off the bench.

But his obstinance is unlikely to do him any good. Alabama’s counties will file their final election results by December 22, and the state has a January 3 deadline to certify them. Alabama law triggers an automatic recount if the margin is within half a percentage point — far below the current 1.5 percent differential.