Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley says it’s not a viable solution for Republican U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore of Alabama to pull out of the race.
Moore is accused by several women of sexual misconduct, allegations he denies. Grassley, a Republican, says it appears Moore’s political future will simply be decided at the ballot box next month.
“He could pull out of the race right now and his name’s still going to be on the ballot, so the voters of Alabama are going to decide,” Grassley says. “I would simply say that the allegations are awful.” The special election is scheduled for December 12th to fill the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Jeff Sessions, who’s now the U.S. Attorney General. Some of the accusations against Moore are coming from women who were teenagers at the time of the alleged incidents.
Grassley says, “It should go without saying since I say these allegations are awful that sexual harassment shouldn’t be tolerated in any form by any individual.” Some Senate Republicans suggest if Moore wins the election next month, they should expel him on moral and ethical grounds. Grassley hasn’t yet reached a conclusion on that prospect. He knows Congress isn’t immune from such behavior.
“We had some evidence that things needed to change in the United States Senate and I’m sorry to say that you’re in this position of being a senator and the institution you serve in might have some of these same problems,” he says. Those problems were addressed more than 20 years ago — and again just last week.
Grassley says, “I got a bill passed in 1995 called the Congressional Accountability Act that put Congress under all the laws we previously exempted ourselves from and one of those was employment laws and that involves sexual harassment.”
The law made sexual harassment prevention classes available to all Congressional staff and to all members of Congress, but the training was voluntary. Grassley says the bill that passed in the Senate last week would make that training mandatory. Iowa’s other U.S. Senator, Republican Joni Ernst of Red Oak, has said of Moore: “If the allegations are true, he needs to step aside.”