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Roy Moore admires Vladimir Putin’s morality

“Maybe he’s more akin to me than I know.”

Steve Bannon Joins Alabama Senate Candidate Roy Moore At Campaign Rally Joe Raedle/Getty Images
Zack Beauchamp is a senior correspondent at Vox, where he covers ideology and challenges to democracy, both at home and abroad. Before coming to Vox in 2014, he edited TP Ideas, a section of Think Progress devoted to the ideas shaping our political world.

Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore slammed America as a “focus of evil” and sympathized with Vladimir Putin in newly surfaced comments, saying of the Russian leader: “Maybe he’s more akin to me than I know.”

Moore, a social conservative who has been accused of having sexual relations with multiple underage girls, blamed America for spreading moral evils like “same-sex marriage,” saying these things vindicated Putin’s hostility toward the United States. The comments came in an interview with the Guardian this August, but were largely overlooked until Thursday evening, when they resurfaced on social media. Here’s a full transcript:

Q: [Ronald Reagan] said that Russia was a focus of evil in the world.

MOORE: You could say that very well about America, couldn’t you.

Q: You think?

MOORE: Well, we promote a lot of bad things, you know.

Q: Like?

MOORE: Same-sex marriage.

Q: That’s the very argument Vladimir Putin makes.

MOORE: Well, then maybe Putin is right. Maybe he’s more akin to me than I know.

And here’s video, courtesy of the Twitter account the Reagan Battalion:

Moore is echoing Trump, who has formally endorsed him, but also a deeper strain of pro-Russian sentiment in the socially conservative world. Pat Buchanan, for example, has argued that Putin is a natural ally of social conservatives in the United States due to his deep hostility toward homosexuality. Putin backed a law, for example, curtailing free speech rights for LGBTQ Russians.

“Putin stands against the Western progressive vision of what mankind's future ought to be,” Buchanan wrote in the conservative publication Town Hall in March. “Years ago, he aligned himself with traditionalists, nationalists and populists of the West, and against what they had come to despise in their own decadent civilization.”

There’s another point here. How would Republicans be acting if a Democratic Senate candidate, who had been credibly accused of preying on underage girls, had said America was evil and praised Vladimir Putin?

Not well, would be my guess.