Trump urges Roy Moore to concede Alabama Senate race

WASHINGTON, Dec 15 (Reuters) - President Donald Trump called on fellow Republican Roy Moore on Friday to concede to Democrat Doug Jones in the Alabama U.S. Senate race, following the party's stinging loss in the southern U.S. state earlier this week.

Moore, whose controversial candidacy was beset by allegations that he sexually assaulted or pursued teenage girls while in his 30s, has so far refused to admit defeat in Tuesday's election that saw Jones win by 1.5 percentage points with 99 percent of the ballots counted.

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The embattled Republican has made two statements since his loss, but has not conceded even as Trump and others have reached out to congratulate Jones, a former prosecutor, on his win.

"I would certainly say he should," Trump, who endorsed Moore in the final stage of the campaign, told reporters at the White House.

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Scenes from inside Doug Jones and Roy Moore election night parties
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Scenes from inside Doug Jones and Roy Moore election night parties

A supporter of democratic U.S. Senator candidate Doug Jones cries as Jones is declared the winner during his election night gathering the Sheraton Hotel on December 12, 2017 in Birmingham, Alabama. Doug Jones defeated his republican challenger Roy Moore to claim Alabama's U.S. Senate seat that was vacated by attorney general Jeff Sessions.

(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Supporters react as results show a tight race between Republican Senatorial candidate Roy Moore during his election night party in the RSA Activity Center on December 12, 2017 in Montgomery, Alabama. Mr. Moore is facing off against Democrat Doug Jones in the special election for the U.S. Senate.

(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Supporters celebrate after media began to call the election for Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Doug Jones, at his election night party in Birmingham, Alabama, U.S. December 12, 2017.

(REUTERS/Marvin Gentry)

Supporters react as results show a tight race between Republican Senatorial candidate Roy Moore during his election night party in the RSA Activity Center on December 12, 2017 in Montgomery, Alabama. Mr. Moore is facing off against Democrat Doug Jones in the special election for the U.S. Senate.

(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Supporters of democratic U.S. Senator candidate Doug Jones celebrate as Jones is declared the winner during his election night gathering the Sheraton Hotel on December 12, 2017 in Birmingham, Alabama. Doug Jones defeated his republican challenger Roy Moore to claim Alabama's U.S. Senate seat that was vacated by attorney general Jeff Sessions.

(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Supporters react as results show a tight race between Republican Senatorial candidate Roy Moore during his election night party in the RSA Activity Center on December 12, 2017 in Montgomery, Alabama. Mr. Moore is facing off against Democrat Doug Jones in the special election for the U.S. Senate.

(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Democratic U.S. Senator elect Doug Jones greets supporters during his election night gathering the Sheraton Hotel on December 12, 2017 in Birmingham, Alabama. Doug Jones defeated his republican challenger Roy Moore to claim Alabama's U.S. Senate seat that was vacated by attorney general Jeff Sessions.

(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Supporters of Republican senatorial candidate Roy Moore watch for results at an election night party in Montgomery, Alabama, on December 12, 2017. Democrat Doug Jones scored a victory Tuesday in a fiercely contested US Senate race in conservative Alabama, dealing a setback to US President Donald Trump, whose candidate could not overcome damaging sexual misconduct accusations. With 92 percent of precincts reporting, former prosecutor Jones secured 49.5 percent of the vote compared to Roy Moore's 48.8 percent, CNN and other networks reported.

(JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)

Supporters react as results show a tight race between Republican Senatorial candidate Roy Moore during his election night party in the RSA Activity Center on December 12, 2017 in Montgomery, Alabama. Mr. Moore is facing off against Democrat Doug Jones in the special election for the U.S. Senate.

(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Supporters of democratic U.S. Senator candidate Doug Jones celebrate as Jones is declared the winner during his election night gathering the Sheraton Hotel on December 12, 2017 in Birmingham, Alabama. Doug Jones defeated his republican challenger Roy Moore to claim Alabama's U.S. Senate seat that was vacated by attorney general Jeff Sessions.

(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Supporters of Republican senatorial candidate Roy Moore hug as they watch results at an election night party in Montgomery, Alabama, on December 12, 2017. Democrat Doug Jones scored a victory Tuesday in a fiercely contested US Senate race in conservative Alabama, dealing a setback to US President Donald Trump, whose candidate could not overcome damaging sexual misconduct accusations. With 92 percent of precincts reporting, former prosecutor Jones secured 49.5 percent of the vote compared to Roy Moore's 48.8 percent, CNN and other networks reported.

(JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)

UNITED STATES - DECEMBER 12: Alabama Democrat Doug Jones poses for a selfie as he celebrates his victory over Judge Roy Moore at the Sheraton in Birmingham, Ala., on Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2017. Jones is faced off against Judge Roy Moore in a special election for Jeff Sessions' seat in the U.S. Senate. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Supporters of Republican senatorial candidate Roy Moore wait for results at an election night party in Montgomery, Alabama, on December 12, 2017. Democrat Doug Jones scored a victory Tuesday in a fiercely contested US Senate race in conservative Alabama, dealing a setback to US President Donald Trump, whose candidate could not overcome damaging sexual misconduct accusations. With 92 percent of precincts reporting, former prosecutor Jones secured 49.5 percent of the vote compared to Roy Moore's 48.8 percent, CNN and other networks reported.

(JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)

Supporters of democratic U.S. Senator candidate Doug Jones celebrate as Jones is declared the winner during his election night gathering the Sheraton Hotel on December 12, 2017 in Birmingham, Alabama. Doug Jones defeated his republican challenger Roy Moore to claim Alabama's U.S. Senate seat that was vacated by attorney general Jeff Sessions.

(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

A supporter holds a sign at Republican U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore's election night party in Montgomery, Alabama, U.S. December 12, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Bachman

A supporter holds up a "Bikers For Trump" sign as he attends Republican U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore's election night party in Montgomery, Alabama, U.S. December 12, 2017.

(REUTERS/Jonathan Bachman)

A supporter of Republican U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore prays after media began to call the election for rival candidate Democrat Doug Jones, at Moore's election night party in Montgomery, Alabama, U.S. December 12, 2017.

(REUTERS/Jonathan Bachman)

A costumed supporter checks results on her phone at Republican U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore's election night party in Montgomery, Alabama, U.S. December 12, 2017.

(REUTERS/Carlo Allegri)

A supporter holds a sign during Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Doug Jones' election night party in Birmingham, Alabama, U.S. December 12, 2017.

(REUTERS/Marvin Gentry)

Supporters of Republican senatorial candidate Roy Moore watch for results at an election night party in Montgomery, Alabama, on December 12, 2017. Democrat Doug Jones scored a victory Tuesday in a fiercely contested US Senate race in conservative Alabama, dealing a setback to US President Donald Trump, whose candidate could not overcome damaging sexual misconduct accusations. With 92 percent of precincts reporting, former prosecutor Jones secured 49.5 percent of the vote compared to Roy Moore's 48.8 percent, CNN and other networks reported.

(JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)

Supporters of Republican senatorial candidate Roy Moore hug as they watch results at an election night party in Montgomery, Alabama, on December 12, 2017. Democrat Doug Jones scored a victory Tuesday in a fiercely contested US Senate race in conservative Alabama, dealing a setback to US President Donald Trump, whose candidate could not overcome damaging sexual misconduct accusations. With 92 percent of precincts reporting, former prosecutor Jones secured 49.5 percent of the vote compared to Roy Moore's 48.8 percent, CNN and other networks reported.

(JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)

A supporter wearing a "Bikers For Trump" emblem on his hat attends Republican U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore's election night party in Montgomery, Alabama, U.S. December 12, 2017.

(REUTERS/Jonathan Bachman)

"Make America Great Again" hats lie on a table at Republican U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore's election night party in Montgomery, Alabama, U.S. December 12, 2017.

(REUTERS/Carlo Allegri)

Supporters pray during the invocation at Republican U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore's election night party in Montgomery, Alabama, U.S. December 12, 2017.

(REUTERS/Jonathan Bachman)

Supporters of Republican senatorial candidate Roy Moore wait for polls results at an election night party in Montgomery, Alabama, on December 12, 2017. Alabama voters were casting the last ballots Tuesday in a pivotal US Senate contest between a Republican dogged by accusations he once preyed on teenage girls and a Democrat seeking an upset win in a deeply conservative southern state.

(JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)

MONTGOMERY, AL - DECEMBER 12: A woman wears an 'I Voted' sticker as she awaits the arrival of Republican Senatorial candidate Roy Moore for his election night party in the RSA Activity Center on December 12, 2017 in Montgomery, Alabama. Mr. Moore is facing off against Democrat Doug Jones in the special election for the U.S. Senate.

(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Supporters recite the Pledge of Allegiance as they await the arrival of Republican Senatorial candidate Roy Moore for his election night party in the RSA Activity Center on December 12, 2017 in Montgomery, Alabama. Mr. Moore is facing off against Democrat Doug Jones in the special election for the U.S. Senate.

(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Supporters react as results show a tight race between Republican Senatorial candidate Roy Moore during his election night party in the RSA Activity Center on December 12, 2017 in Montgomery, Alabama. Mr. Moore is facing off against Democrat Doug Jones in the special election for the U.S. Senate.

(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Democratic Alabama U.S. Senate candidate Doug Jones acknowledges supporters at the election night party in Birmingham, Alabama, U.S., December 12, 2017. REUTERS/Marvin Gentry
Attendees react to election results during an election night party for Roy Moore, Republican candidate for U.S. Senate from Alabama, in Montgomery, Alabama, U.S., on Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2017. Democrat�Doug Jones�delivered a stunning upset defeat to Republican�Roy Moore�in a U.S. Senate race in deep-red Alabama that had split the GOP even before its controversial nominee was accused of inappropriate conduct with teenage girls. Photographer: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg via Getty Images
An attendee uses her phone during an election night party for Roy Moore, Republican candidate for U.S. Senate from Alabama, in Montgomery, Alabama, U.S., on Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2017. Democrat�Doug Jones�delivered a stunning upset defeat to Republican�Roy Moore�in a U.S. Senate race in deep-red Alabama that had split the GOP even before its controversial nominee was accused of inappropriate conduct with teenage girls. Photographer: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Attendees pray during an election night party for Roy Moore, Republican candidate for U.S. Senate from Alabama, in Montgomery, Alabama, U.S., on Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2017. Democrat�Doug Jones�delivered a stunning upset defeat to Republican�Roy Moore�in a U.S. Senate race in deep-red Alabama that had split the GOP even before its controversial nominee was accused of inappropriate conduct with teenage girls. Photographer: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Attendees react to election results during an election night party for Roy Moore, Republican candidate for U.S. Senate from Alabama, in Montgomery, Alabama, U.S., on Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2017. Democrat�Doug Jones�delivered a stunning upset defeat to Republican�Roy Moore�in a U.S. Senate race in deep-red Alabama that had split the GOP even before its controversial nominee was accused of inappropriate conduct with teenage girls. Photographer: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg via Getty Images
BIRMINGHAM, AL - DECEMBER 12: Democratic U.S. Senator elect Doug Jones (L) kisses his wife Louise Jones (R) during his election night gathering the Sheraton Hotel on December 12, 2017 in Birmingham, Alabama. Doug Jones defeated his republican challenger Roy Moore to claim Alabama's U.S. Senate seat that was vacated by attorney general Jeff Sessions. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Supporters of Republican senatorial candidate Roy Moore sing gospel after election results show Moore lost, in Montgomery, Alabama, on December 12, 2017. Democrat Doug Jones scored a victory Tuesday in a fiercely contested US Senate race in conservative Alabama, dealing a setback to US President Donald Trump, whose candidate could not overcome damaging sexual misconduct accusations. With 92 percent of precincts reporting, former prosecutor Jones secured 49.5 percent of the vote compared to Roy Moore's 48.8 percent, CNN and other networks reported. / AFP PHOTO / JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
BIRMINGHAM, AL - DECEMBER 12: Democratic U.S. Senator elect Doug Jones greets supporters during his election night gathering the Sheraton Hotel on December 12, 2017 in Birmingham, Alabama. Doug Jones defeated his republican challenger Roy Moore to claim Alabama� U.S. Senate seat that was vacated by attorney general Jeff Sessions.�(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)� (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
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"He tried," Trump added, referring to Moore's campaign efforts and reiterating his earlier comments that as the party's top leader he would have liked to keep the seat in Republican hands.

Jones defeated the former judge in a special election to replace Jeff Sessions, who left the Senate to serve as U.S. Attorney General under Trump. State officials have said the outcome is unlikely to change even as provisional ballots are counted.

The Democratic win would narrow Republicans' hold on the Senate to 51 out of 100 seats. It has also buoyed Democrats' hopes of a potential comeback for the party in the 2018 midterm elections. (Reporting by Jim Oliphant and Susan Heavey; Editing by Bernadette Baum and Andrew Hay)

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