President Donald Trump's counselor, Kellyanne Conway, said she takes sexual misconduct allegations very seriously but in the case of Alabama candidate for U.S. Senate, Roy Moore, "both sides are alleging different things."
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"I denounce that conduct. And if the allegations are true, he should step aside” from the election, Conway told “This Week” co-anchor Martha Raddatz in an interview Sunday.
“I said very early that the conduct as described should disqualify anyone from serving in public office, and I’ll stand by that,” Conway said. “Everybody should know that conduct is disqualifying.”
Moore has forcefully denied the allegations made in a Washington Post report Thursday by four women, including one who accused him of initiating a sexual encounter with her when she was 14 and he was 32 in the late 1970s. The three other women allege in the story that Moore pursued them when they were between 16 and 18 years old and he was in his 30s.
Conway said that while she denounces the alleged conduct, "I also want to make sure that we as a nation are not always prosecuting people through the press. He has denied the allegations."
She continued, "It would be a very dangerous precedent for any of us, for any person in this country to just be cast aside as guilty because of press reports ... I believe that both sides are alleging different things here."
“Mr. Moore has denied that conduct. I think you've got other people are out there talking about what did or did not happen many years ago,” Conway said, adding later, “I only know what I read. And what I read is very disturbing. And what I read offends me greatly as a woman, as a mother of three young girls.”
The counselor to Trump also told Raddatz, "The president is not as focused on this" currently because he is on a 13-day tour of Asia.
"He’s not being briefed on this bit by bit," she said of the allegations against Moore and the fallout.
Raddatz also asked Conway if the president contradicted himself this weekend on wehther he believes Russia interfered in the 2016 election. Trump said after meeting with Vladimir Putin that the Russian leader believes his country did not meddle in the U.S. election. But in a press conference Sunday morning from Vietnam, Trump also said he believes the conclusion of U.S. intelligence agencies that Moscow did in fact interfere in the election.
Conway responded that President Trump's meaning was clear: "He said that President Putin believes it. What the president believes is most important here. He believes the assessment of the intelligence communities. He's very respectful of that."
She added, "You know, the president is not the chairman of the board of elections in this country, he's the president of the United States. He wants to deal with President Putin and other world leaders ... on major issues like global security, on trade ... on combating ISIS, on a nuclearized North Korea."