Trump’s silence on Roy Moore speaks volumes

The day after returning from his overseas trip, President Trump fired off tweets criticizing CNN and the New York Times, jabbing Democrats for not supporting the GOP’s tax plan and wondering if three UCLA basketball players would thank him for freeing them from jail in China. But he never once discussed the scandal involving Alabama Republican Senate nominee Roy Moore, who now faces a total of nine women alleging inappropriate behavior by him.

After delivering remarks about his trip to Asia, Trump declined to answer reporters’ shouted questions about Moore. “Should Roy Moore resign, Mr. President?” He gave no answer.

While in Asia, Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders issued the official White House response on Moore. “Like most Americans the president believes we cannot allow a mere allegation, in this case one from many years ago, to destroy a person’s life," she told reporters last week aboard Air Force One. "However, the president also believes that if these allegations are true, Judge Moore will do the right thing and step aside."

RELATED: Lawmakers react to Roy Moore sexual misconduct allegations

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Lawmakers react to Roy Moore sexual misconduct allegations
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Lawmakers react to Roy Moore sexual misconduct allegations
Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore is accused of initiating a sexual encounter with a 14-year-old girl when he was 32, according to a Washington Post report.

(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
The allegations against Roy Moore are deeply disturbing and disqualifying. He should immediately step aside and all… https://t.co/MXrceCZZ9a
If there is any truth at all to these horrific allegations, Roy Moore should immediately step aside as a Senate candidate.
JUST NOW: @lisamurkowski on WaPo Report on Roy Moore: “I’m horrified and if it’s true he should step down immediately.”
If there is any shred of truth to the allegations against Roy Moore, he should step aside immediately.
Look, I'm sorry, but even before these reports surfaced, Roy Moore's nomination was a bridge too far.
The allegations leveled at Roy Moore are disturbing. I have serious concerns about his prior conduct and fitness fo… https://t.co/EQcUEpHRKH
Ted Cruz: Roy Moore allegations "serious and troubling," should "immediately withdraw" if true… https://t.co/XuW33Chx5j
NRSC Chairman Cory Gardner: “If these allegations are found to be true, Roy Moore must drop out.” https://t.co/y4UEOJmZWa
Portman says Moore should drop out of the race if the Moore reports are true, says he has “no reason to doubt”… https://t.co/mOhGuTl2d9
I've long opposed Roy Moore & his divisive viewpoints. The actions described make him unfit for office. The GOP mus… https://t.co/8rpkIH3FkX
I am pulling my endorsement and support for Roy Moore for U.S. Senate.
Having read the detailed description of the incidents, as well as the response from Judge Moore and his campaign, I… https://t.co/cuO0MkNxVJ
I have now read Mr. Moore’s statement and listened to his radio interview in which he denies the charges. I did not… https://t.co/OQDdcvO3fX
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But the silence from Trump — as the president of the United States, as the leader of the Republican Party and as someone who is never afraid to tweet what’s on his mind — speaks volumes. Does he agree with daughter Ivanka Trump, who 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”? (But she didn’t call for him to exit the race.) Does he agree with the Alabama Republican Party, which maintains its support for Moore, per NBC’s Vaughn Hillyard? Or does he agree with Fox News’ Sean Hannity, who ended his broadcast last night saying the issue was up to Alabama voters?

In fairness to Trump, there are no good solutions here. The ballot is already set; Moore doesn’t look like he’s leaving the race; a write-in campaign would be incredibly hard to mount; and Trump already tried once to defeat Moore (yet his candidate lost the runoff). But does anyone think if the shoe were on the other foot — if a Democratic candidate in a high-profile race faced similar allegations — would the president be staying silent right now?

House set to vote on GOP tax plan

The other big political story today is the House vote on the GOP’s tax plan, which is slated to take place in the early afternoon, per NBC’s Alex Moe. And the expectation is that House Republicans will pass the legislation.

Politico: “Speaker Paul Ryan and his top lieutenants have been working behind the scenes on a few tax reform holdouts in recent days. But House Republicans think they’ve already got enough votes lined up — and have not needed to turn to Trump to flip opponents… There’s little room for error for Republicans. House Democrats have been working to keep their 194-member caucus together, not only to show unified opposition but to deny Republicans any opportunity to tout the bill as a bipartisan effort.”

RELATED: President Trump speaks about tax reform in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

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President Trump speaks about tax reform in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
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President Trump speaks about tax reform in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
US President Donald Trump speaks on tax reform, at Harrisburg International Airport on October 11, 2017 in Middletown, Pennsylvania. / AFP PHOTO / MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
U.S. President Donald Trump speaks about tax reform in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, U.S., October 11, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin waits for U.S. President Donald Trump to speak about tax reform in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, U.S., October 11, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
U.S. President Donald Trump is obscured by a teleprompter as he speaks about tax reform in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, U.S., October 11, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
Director of the National Economic Council Gary Cohn speaks on a mobile phone as U.S. President Donald Trump speaks about tax reform in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, U.S., October 11, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
People listen as U.S. President Donald Trump speaks about tax reform in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, U.S., October 11, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
U.S. President Donald Trump speaks about tax reform in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, U.S., October 11, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
US President Donald Trump steps out of a limousine to board off Air Force One before departing from Harrisburg International Airport on October 11, 2017 in Middletown, Pennsylvania. / AFP PHOTO / MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump speaks on tax reform inside a hangar at the Harrisburg International Airport on October 11, 2017 in Middletown, Pennsylvania. / AFP PHOTO / MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump speaks on tax reform, at Harrisburg International Airport on October 11, 2017 in Middletown, Pennsylvania. / AFP PHOTO / MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
U.S. President Donald Trump speaks about tax reform in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, U.S., October 11, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
US President Donald Trump speaks on tax reform, at Harrisburg International Airport on October 11, 2017 in Middletown, Pennsylvania. / AFP PHOTO / MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
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At 11:30 am ET, President Trump heads to Capitol Hill to give House Republicans a pep talk before this afternoon’s vote.

Focus group of North Carolina voters down on Trump

NBC’s Andrew Rafferty observed a 12-person focus group last night in Wilmington, N.C., led by Democratic pollster Peter Hart on behalf of Emory University. The focus group consisted of seven Clinton voters and five Trump voters.

The group gave blistering reviews of Trump’s performance so far. The voters expressed deep frustrations both with the president’s conduct in office and what they perceive to be a lack of accomplishment since Inauguration Day, Rafferty reports.

“Nightmare,” “divisive,” “mayhem,” “antagonistic,” “failure,” “reality television,” “rude,” “instigating” and “vacant” were among the words used to describe Trump over the past year.

Some of the most stinging reviews came from those who cast ballots for the president in the key battleground state he won by four points.

RELATED: Melania Trump throughout the trip to Asia

37 PHOTOS
Melania Trump throughout the trip to Asia
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Melania Trump throughout the trip to Asia
U.S. first lady Melania Trump visits the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall of China, in Beijing November 10, 2017. REUTERS/Thomas Peter TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania arrive in Seoul, South Korea, November 7, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
First Lady of the United States Melania Trump is welcomed by Japan's First Lady Akie Abe as she arrives at Mikimoto Ginza Main Store for a cultural event in the fashionable Ginza district of Tokyo, Japan November 5, 2017. REUTERS/David Mareuil/Pool
U.S. first lady Melania Trump sits with Japan's first lady Akie Abe during her visit to Mikimoto Pearl head shop in Tokyo's Ginza district, Japan, November.5, 2017. REUTERS/Katsumi Kasahara/Pool
U.S. President Donald Trump and his wife Melania Trump are welcomed by Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his wife Akie Abe with a dinner at Ginza Ukai Tei in Tokyo, Japan November 5, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump, second right, and First Lady Melania Trump, left, are welcomed by Emperor Akihito, second right, and Empress Michiko, right, upon their arrival at the Imperial Palace Monday, Nov. 6, 2017 in Tokyo. REUTERS/Eugene Hoshiko/Pool
U.S. President Donald Trump (3rd R) talks with Japan's Emperor Akihito (L) while his wife Melania (3rd R) talks with Empress Michiko (R) at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo, Japan November 6, 2017. REUTERS/Issei Kato
U.S. President Donald Trump, second left, and First Lady Melania Trump, left, are welcomed by Emperor Akihito, second right, and Empress Michiko, right, upon their arrival at the Imperial Palace Monday, Nov. 6, 2017 in Tokyo.REUTERS/Eugene Hoshiko/Pool
U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump arrive on Air Force One at U.S. Air Force Yokota base in Fussa, on the outskirts of Tokyo, Japan, November 5, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump arrive on Air Force One at U.S. Air Force Yokota base in Fussa, on the outskirts of Tokyo, Japan, November 5, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Visiting US First Lady Melania Trump wrote a calligraphy with a help of a school girl while attending a calligraphy class of 4th grader with Akie Abe, wife of Japanese prime minister, at the Kyobashi Tsukiji elementary school in Tokyo on November 6, 2017. Melania and Akie wrote characters together meaning "Peace". REUTERS/Toshifumi Kitamura/Pool
Visiting US First Lady Melania Trump writes a calligraphy while attending a calligraphy class of 4th graders with Akie Abe (R), wife of Japanese prime minister, at the Kyobashi Tsukiji elementary school in Tokyo on November 6, 2017. Melania and Akie wrote characters together meaning "Peace". REUTERS/Toshifumi Kitamura/Pool
US First Lady Melania Trump poses with Japanese First Lady Akie Abe before their lunch at the Akasaka Palace in Tokyo, Japan, 06 November 2017. REUTERS/Franck Robichon/Pool
U.S. first lady Melania Trump and Japan's first lady Akie Abe visit Kyobashi Tsukiji elementary school in Tokyo, Japan, November 6, 2017. REUTERS/Ma Ping/Pool
U.S. first lady Melania Trump and Japan's first lady Akie Abe visit Kyobashi Tsukiji elementary school in Tokyo, Japan, November 6, 2017. REUTERS/Ma Ping/Pool
U.S. first lady Melania Trump and Japan's first lady Akie Abe visit Kyobashi Tsukiji elementary school in Tokyo, Japan, November 6, 2017. REUTERS/Ma Ping/Pool
U.S. first lady Melania Trump and President Donald Trump arrive for an official dinner thrown in their honor by Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at Akasaka Palace in Tokyo, Japan November 6, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania board Air Force One as they depart for Seoul, at U.S. Air Force Yokota base in Fussa, on the outskirts of Tokyo, Japan, November 7, 2017. REUTERS/Toru Hanai
U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania board Air Force One as they depart for Seoul, at U.S. Air Force Yokota base in Fussa, on the outskirts of Tokyo, Japan, November 7, 2017. REUTERS/Toru Hanai
U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania arrive in Seoul, South Korea, November 7, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. first lady Melania Trump and South Korea's first lady Kim Jung-sook walk at the Presidential Blue House in Seoul, South Korea, November 7, 2017. REUTERS/Jeon Heon-Kyun/Pool
U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump arrive at the National Cemetery in Seoul, South Korea, November 8, 2017. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji
U.S. President Donald Trump and U.S. first lady Melania visit the Forbidden City with China� President Xi Jinping in Beijing, China, November 8, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump and U.S. first lady Melania visit the Forbidden City with China's President Xi Jinping in Beijing, China, November 8, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump and U.S. first lady Melania visit the Forbidden City with China's President Xi Jinping and China's First Lady Peng Liyuan in Beijing, China, November 8, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. first lady Melania Trump and Chinese first lady Peng Liyuan applaud during the Banchang Primary School in Beijing, China, Thursday, Nov. 9, 2017. REUTERS/Ng Han Guan/Pool
U.S. First Lady Melania Trump assists a student to adorn a gown near China's First Lady Peng Liyuan during their visit to the Banchang Primary School in Beijing, China, November 9, 2017. REUTERS/Ng Han Guan/Pool
U.S. first lady Melania Trump, and Chinese first lady Peng Liyuan, left look as a Chinese student perform Chinese opera during their visit to the Banchang Primary School in Beijing, China, Thursday, Nov. 9, 2017. REUTERS/Ng Han Guan/Pool
U.S. first lady Melania Trump visits Beijing Zoo in Beijing, China, November 10, 2017. REUTERS/Thomas Peter
U.S. first lady Melania Trump talks to children during her visit to Beijing Zoo in Beijing, China, November 10, 2017. REUTERS/Thomas Peter
U.S. first lady Melania Trump poses for photos with children in front of a panda section as she visits Beijing Zoo in Beijing, China, November 10, 2017. REUTERS/Thomas Peter
U.S. first lady Melania Trump leaves well wishes on a board after visiting the panda enclosure at the zoo in Beijing, China, November 10, 2017. REUTERS/Ng Han Guan/Pool
U.S. first lady Melania Trump visits the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall of China, in Beijing November 10, 2017. REUTERS/Thomas Peter
U.S. first lady Melania Trump visits the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall of China, in Beijing November 10, 2017. REUTERS/Thomas Peter
U.S. first lady Melania Trump visits the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall of China in Beijing, China, November 10, 2017. REUTERS/Thomas Peter
U.S. first lady Melania Trump visits the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall of China in Beijing, China, November 10, 2017. REUTERS/Thomas Peter
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“When he’s away, he’s great being a president, you know he’s a showman. But at home – I can’t imagine how they let him build a country club let along be in one,” said Annie Anthony, a 56-year-old Trump voter who described herself as a “weak Republican.”

Still, none of the five Trump voters was ready to write him off just yet. They remained hopeful he could still follow through on campaign promises like tax reform and health care.

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