A few hours after tweeting out his support for controversial Republican U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore, the White House said President Donald Trump called Moore from Air Force One on Monday, making clear his support for Moore's election bid, putting Mr. Trump squarely at odds with a number of GOP Senators who have said they find Moore to be an unacceptable candidate.
"The President had a positive call with Judge Roy Moore during which they discussed the state of the Alabama Senate race and the President endorsed Judge Moore's campaign," reporters were told by Principal White House Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah.
"Go get 'em Roy!" Moore quoted the President as saying.
Earlier, Mr. Trump had for the first time directly expressed his support for Moore on Twitter, tucking that declaration into another jab at Moore's opponent in Alabama, Democrat Doug Jones, whom the President has repeatedly labeled a 'puppet' of top Democratic leaders in the House and Senate.
The President will be holding a campaign rally on Friday night in Pensacola, Florida, which is only about fifteen miles from the Alabama border, and will certainly attract press attention in the Yellowhammer State.
For weeks, Moore has been echoing attacks made by the President against Jones to help raise money for the Alabama Senate race, as Moore argues he's been "kicked and dragged through the mud by establishment Republicans and the liberal media - mostly elitists in Washington."
"But this week President Trump stood up and defended me against the lies and sleazy accusations launched against me by the forces of evil in Washington," Moore wrote in a fundraising email at Thanksgiving.
Today's full and direct endorsement was welcomed by Moore's camp as well.
While the President has fully embraced Moore, a number of Republicans in the U.S. Senate have made clear they want no part of him, horrified by multiple accusations against him of past sexual misconduct.
But in recent days, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell seemed to downplay some of his opposition to Moore, saying the "voters of Alabama will make their choice."
Moore had been favored to win the election to complete the term of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who left the Senate to run the Department of Justice in the Trump Administration, until stories surfaced that he had - in his 30's - engaged in relationships and pursued teenage girls while working as a local prosecutor.
It was only a few weeks ago that the White House said the President had found the allegations against Moore to be 'extremely troubling' - but now, Mr. Trump is fully on board with Moore.
The Alabama special election for U.S. Senate is December 12.
Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.
Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.