It’s getting harder to surprise me. Not just because I’ve been around the block a few times, but because the surprises are coming so fast and furious in DC this year that they are no longer surprising at all. Still, I must admit I was surprised by President Trump’s pre-Thanksgiving blessing of U.S. Senate candidate, Roy Moore.
Preparing to head off to Florida for the holiday, he was asked by reporters how he felt about the Republican contender in Alabama. More specifically, he was questioned about all those women who say Moore (as a full-grown adult, mind you) came onto/propositioned/made out with and/or groped them when they were teenagers. Teenagers. You know – the working at the mall, attending high school kind.
“He denies it! Look, he denies it!” Trump said with his helicopter to vacationland whirring in the background. Adding, in case you missed it, “He totally denies it. He says it didn’t happen.” The president said a few words about how the accusations from 40 years ago were well past their sell-by date, and then he addressed the Democrat running against Moore for that precious senate seat, Doug Jones. “You don’t need somebody who is soft on crime like Jones,” he said. Then he nodded and took off. At this point you may want to ponder the meaning of the word irony for a few moments, because it is flooding the streets here in the capital.
For weeks the White House insisted that the people of Alabama alone should choose their next senator with no nudging from afar. Apparently, that sentiment has change. While this was not a full-throated endorsement of Moore it was beyond a wink-and-nod. It was a president (himself accused of sexual improprieties) effectively saying the women who have come forward to tell their tales against an alleged predator should be ignored. And it was all done in defense of a man this very president was campaigning against at the start of autumn.
So yeah, like those turkeys pardoned outside the Oval Office just hours before millions of their siblings are devoured, I’m surprised – and blinking in the blinding light of a city I barely recognize.