But perhaps none have been as strange as the one offered Monday by one Moore-friendly local reporter.
Appearing on CNN, Brandon Moseley, a political writer for the supposedly “non-partisan” Alabama Political Reporter website, compared child molestation to stealing a lawn mower and refused to condemn Moore for the alleged behavior even if it were true.
“I’ve known Roy Moore for 20 years. I’ve covered his campaigns,” Moseley told host Brooke Baldwin. “I think if this was a serious—if these allegations were out there and were serious I probably would have heard them.”
When a befuddled Baldwin asked Moseley why he doesn’t consider the allegations—including sexual contact with a woman when she was 14 years old—to be “serious,” the reporter answered: “They're 38-year-old allegations. This would be a misdemeanor at the time under the code of Alabama. The statute’s been up since ’86.”
He then deployed a pivot commonly deployed in deflecting from right-wing sex scandals: “If you go back and you don’t elect anyone who has ever done anything wrong we wouldn’t have had Barack Obama. I think he did cocaine. Bill Clinton supposedly smoked marijuana.”
Baldwin paused, tilted her head in confusion, and said: “Okay, what?”
She added: “We are talking about allegations involving the current Senate candidate of Alabama. Let me stop you on the facts. Let’s function in the factual world.” Baldwin then pointed out that the age of consent in Alabama is 16, and so it is acknowledged that sexual contact with a 14-year-old would have implicitly been illegal.
“Are you saying that because there wouldn’t have been a law, according to you, that would have made it okay back then?” she asked Moseley.
“If Roy Moore committed a sin, that’s a sin and that’s not good, but we’re not talking about an actual crime here under—that’s prosecutable in 2017,” he replied. “I don’t think you throw out 35 years of a man’s career and his reputation because of an unsubstantiated allegation from 1979.”
Baldwin frustratedly noted, once again, that the accuser was 14 years old at the time of the alleged incident. She added that CNN researchers found that, as far back as 1977, the behavior would have been considered sexual abuse in the second degree.
“Which is a misdemeanor in Alabama,” Moseley shot back.
“Does that make it okay?” Baldwin asked.
“No, but again, if, you know, if Roy Moore had stolen a lawn mower when he was 21 that’s bad, but that’s not a reason 50 years later to all of a sudden, you know, throw him off the ballot or let Mitch Mcconnell pick the next senator of Alabama.”
“Sexual abuse, stealing a lawn mower,” a stunned Baldwin recapped. “Let’s not even go there.”
When asked why Moore hasn’t taken the time to debunk the allegations one by one, Moseley defended the nominee with a rambling answer:
“The only accusation that would be a serious crime was that of the 14-year-old, whether he gave alcohol to an 18-year-old when the alcohol age was 19 in Alabama,” he began. “Again, the one that matters is the 14-year-old complaint because that would be the most serious offense. It’s become basically Leigh Corfman’s word versus Roy Moore’s and Corfman’s account is different than the other accounts.”
He went on: “And in the other accounts Roy Moore dated some of these women, supposedly, as long as three months and they never got naked. According to Corfman, supposedly, Roy took off her shirt and pants and there was some inappropriate touching.”
Asked whether he similarly dismissed the sexual-harassment accusations against President Trump in 2016, Moseley said: “I still voted for Donald Trump. As a Christian I can forgive a past indiscretion, certainly one that’s not a crime at this time.”
Moseley’s defense of Moore echoes those of other prominent Alabamans who’ve either invoked the Bible or deployed strange analogies.
“Take Joseph and Mary. Mary was a teenager and Joseph was an adult carpenter. They became parents of Jesus,” Alabama State Auditor Jim Zeigler told the Washington Examiner.
Bibb County Republican chairman Jerry Pow told media that even if Moore did commit a sex crime against a young girl, “I would vote for Judge Moore because I wouldn’t want to vote for [Democratic nominee] Doug [Jones]. I’m not saying I support what he did.”