Establishment Republicans are welcoming former Judge Roy Moore — the new GOP nominee for Senate in Alabama — into their ranks.
President Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell — who campaigned for and spent millions of dollars on losing candidate Sen. Luther Strange in Tuesday’s runoff — endorsed Moore quickly, with McConnell doing so even before the Associated Press called the race for him on Tuesday night. The final totals show Moore won by about 12 points.
Moore’s policy views put him far to the right of almost every congressional Republican. He has written that Muslims cannot serve in Congress because he thinks Islam is incompatible with the Constitution, called homosexuality “abhorrent, immoral, detestable ... a crime against nature,” and questioned President Obama’s citizenship as recently as December 2016.
In his statement, McConnell vowed to work with Moore once he arrives in Washington. The president called Moore last night and sent several tweets praising his campaign and urging Alabama voters to supporting him.
McCONNELL congratulates Roy Moore and says Senate GOP apparatus will be "as committed" to electing him as it was Luther Strange. pic.twitter.com/jED62GNXkT— Sahil Kapur (@sahilkapur) September 27, 2017
Other national Republicans quickly followed suit. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO), chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, quickly sent a statement making clear that the NRSC would not entertain helping Democrat Doug Jones in the Senate race’s general election this December:
The NRSC is fully behind Roy Moore. pic.twitter.com/RB1OvIuCEv— Sahil Kapur (@sahilkapur) September 27, 2017
Moore is widely expected to wreak havoc in the Republican caucus. As a judge, he twice defied federal court orders and has vowed to end McConnell’s reign as majority leader if elected. As one Republican senator, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Politico: “It’s highly likely that he could be disruptive. We’re talking about somebody who has been removed from the bench twice."
But none of that is enough to give Republicans pause about backing the Alabama judge. With the primary over, McConnell, Gardner, Trump, and the rest of the Republican Party’s leadership did not hesitate to consolidate behind Moore.