Two hours after that, The Washington Post reported that another woman, Gena Richardson, had come forward with accusations that Moore had made unwanted advances—and in one case, an unwanted “forceful” kiss—while she worked as a teenager in the Gadsden Mall. “It was a man kiss—like really deep tongue. Like very forceful tongue,” Richardson said of the alleged encounter, which she says happened around the time when she was 18. Her former coworker at the Gadsden Mall Sears, Kayla McLaughlin, and another former mall employee, Phyllis Smith, corroborated her account.
In a statement to the Post, the Moore campaign denied these new claims and the earlier ones, saying that “if you are a liberal and hate Judge Moore, apparently he groped you.” But in the scandal now consuming the Alabama race, many of the women who’ve come forward with stories of sexual abuse have been Moore’s Republican constituents. On November 9, the Post ran a story containing allegations from Leigh Corfman that Moore had sexual contact with her when she was 14, and offered stories of other women from Gadsden, Alabama, who allege Moore courted them as teenagers. Additionally, AL.com and The New Yorker ran stories with sources claiming that Moore had been known for approaching young women and teenagers in the Gadsden Mall, and was rumored to have been banned at some point.
Even in the face of seven women claiming Moore assaulted or harassed them, his campaign is defiant, with his chief of staff claiming yesterday that “there are holes all the way through the stories” of the accusers.
Moore’s team has painted his candidacy as the victim of a smear campaign. This afternoon, Moore’s wife Kayla Moore wrote a Facebook post claiming that her hometown had “been invaded by The Washington Post and liberal media,” and that the campaign is filing suit against at least one media outlet. Trenton Garmon, one of the campaign’s lawyers, issued a letter to AL.com “in anticipating (sic) of our firm preparing and filing a lawsuit against your client and its agents,” and the campaign website also now contains a form for supporters to report being contacted by reporters.
At least one Alabama resident reported receiving a seemingly anti-Semitic robocall falsely claiming to have been from a Washington Post reporter that appeared to be an attempt to discredit the paper’s reporting. And Garmon made a strange appearance on MSNBC Wednesday, suggesting that host Ali Velshi’s “background” could give the journalist insight on the allegations of sexual assault against minors.
The Senate’s Republican leadership, including Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, have called on Moore to withdraw. Richard Shelby, the Republican senior senator from Alabama, said that he wouldn’t vote for Moore, and would instead favor a write-in candidate. On Tuesday, the Republican National Committee ended all support for Moore, and on Wednesday, the National Republican Senatorial Committee, which withdrew its support of Moore last week, released a poll showing Moore trailing 12 points behind his opponent, Democrat Doug Jones. (The average of other recent polls depicts a tighter race, with Moore clinging to a slight lead.) Ivanka Trump told the AP that “there’s a special place in hell for people who prey on children. I’ve yet to see a valid explanation and I have no reason to doubt the victims’ accounts.” To all of this, Moore’s campaign tweeted another defiant message Wednesday night, telling McConnell to “bring it on.”