President Donald Trump speaks during a rally in Pensacola, Fla., Friday.
Jonathan Bachman / AP
President Trump urged voters Friday night to elect Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore at a Florida rally, telling a raucous crowd “we cannot afford to lose a seat in the very, very close United States Senate.”
The rally was held about 20 miles from the Alabama state line in Pensacola and was largely seen as an effort to make a final push for Moore, who has been accused by more than a half dozen women of sexual misconduct, including a woman who said she was 14 at the time.
“We need a Republican in the Senate,” Trump told the crowd, which erupted in cheers when the president urged a vote for Moore. “Get out and vote for Roy Moore. Do It. Do it.”
Trump's endorsement came at a time when sexual allegations have surfaced against several men in high profile and powerful positions, including members of the Congress who announced their resignations this week.
The endorsement did not go unnoticed by Moore himself, who was not at the campaign rally, but whose Twitter account was active during the president's speech, repeating his support.
Trump mostly stayed on the usual topics he hits during campaign rallies, including criticizing “sanctuary cities,” promising to lower taxes, and recounting his 2016 presidential campaign.
At one point, after bringing up Hillary Clinton, the crowd began chanting, “Lock her up,” as they did during his rallies before the presidential election. Trump walked briefly away from the podium, allowing the crowd to carry the chant.
“Look, its been proven we have a rigged system,” Trump said, seemingly addressing the crowd's chant. “But this system — going to be a lot of changes. This is a rigged system. This is a sick system from the inside.”
Trump had seemed to keep his distance when the allegations were first reported by The Washington Post, at times defending Moore against his accusers. The White House later said the president would allow the people of Alabama to decide, even as the Florida rally was announced just miles from the state border.
On Friday, Trump went all in with his endorsement, telling supporters Republicans could not afford to lose the seat to a Democrat.
Trying to rally the crowd, Trump placed the weight of the country — not just Alabama — on Moore's election.
“The future of this country cannot afford to lose a seat,” he said.
“We can't afford to have a liberal democrat who is completely controlled by Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, can't do it,” he said. “We need someone in that Senate seat who will vote for our, 'Make America Great Again' agenda.”
Trump, who himself has been accused by multiple women of sexual misconduct and was recorded saying his celebrity status allowed him to “grab 'em by the pussy,” also seized on recent news reports that one of Moore's accusers admitted she wrote notes under a yearbook message signed by Moore when she was 16 years old.
Right-wing media outlets pounced on the news, some of which insinuated the signature was a forgery, although Beverly Young Nelson maintained the handwritten message and signature were authentic.
“So did you see what happened today? You know the yearbook? There was a little mistake. She started writing things in the yearbook,” Trump said. “Gloria Allred, any time you see her you know something's wrong,” he added, referring to Nelson's attorney, who has also represented women who have accused Trump of impropriety.
The Alabama special election will be held on Tuesday.