The White House says President Donald Trump believes Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore "will do the right thing and step aside" if sexual misconduct allegations against him are true.
Press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters traveling with Trump in Asia that the president believes a "mere allegation" — especially one from many years ago — shouldn't be allowed to destroy a person's life.
But Sanders says: "The president also believes that if these allegations are true, Judge Moore will do the right thing and step aside."
The Washington Post reported Thursday that an Alabama woman said Moore had sexual contact with her when she was 14 and he was a 32-year-old assistant district attorney.
The woman, Leigh Corfman, says Moore met her several times when he was a local prosecutor and at one point drove her to his home, where he touched her over her underwear and guided her hand to touch him over his, the Post reported. They did not have sexual intercourse, the report said.
"I wanted it over with — I wanted out," she told the Post. "Please just get this over with. Whatever this is, just get it over."
Aside from Corfman, three other women interviewed by the Post in recent weeks said Moore pursued them when they were between the ages of 16 and 18 and he was 32. None of the other women said that Moore forced them into any sort of relationship or sexual contact.
Moore, 70, denied the allegations in a statement to the Post: "These allegations are completely false and are a desperate political attack by the National Democrat Party and the Washington Post on this campaign."
The Moore campaign also denied the report as "the very definition of fake news and intentional defamation.
Steve Bannon, Trump's former chief strategist, was among Moore's most vocal supporters this fall and slammed the Post as part of the "opposition party."
Bannon called the paper "apparatus of the Democratic Party" and noted that it was among the first to report the infamous Access Hollywood tape that caught Trump using sexually predatory language in 2005.
Bannon asked, "Now is that a coincidence? That's what I mean when I say opposition party."