- Screenshot/Fox News
- The hosts of “Fox & Friends” pushed back on Kellyanne Conway and Sebastian Gorka after they refused to denounce a GOP Senate candidate accused of sexual misconduct with minors.
- Gorka argued the “left-wing media” is intentionally smearing Roy Moore and Conway said the “mainstream media” is using the scandal to distract from the president’s policy agenda.
The hosts of the Fox News morning show “Fox & Friends” pushed back on White House counselor Kellyanne Conway and former White House national security aide Sebastian Gorka on Thursday after the two refused to disavow GOP Senate candidate Roy Moore, who has been accused of sexually assaulting underage girls.
While “Fox & Friends,” which is consistently supportive of the president and his agenda, has spent relatively little time covering the allegations against Moore, a controversial Alabama Republican, the hosts suggested Thursday that they agree with a growing group of Republican leaders, including first daughter Ivanka Trump, who are calling on Moore to abandon his Senate bid in light of the allegations.
Gorka says Moore should be presumed innocent
Gorka, whose right-wing views are widely disdained in the national security community, argued that Moore should be presumed innocent until he is proven guilty of the charges.
“I want to get to the bottom of this story, I want to find out if Judge Moore did what he did because in this country we have a presumption of innocence,” Gorka said. “If these accusations are true, these women deserve justice, but in this country we have to see the evidence and this individual must actually be given the presumption of innocence.”
Co-host Brian Kilmeade pushed back, arguing that the allegations that Moore routinely preyed on teenage girls during his 30s are becoming “an avalanche.”
“I don’t know, there’s some credible stories of him calling high schools, pulling high school kids out of trigonometry class, I’m starting to see an avalanche,” Kilmeade said, reffering to a Wednesday Washington Post report that Moore called a girl out of trigonometry class at Gadsden High School in 1977 to ask her out.
Gorka defended his position with an argument that’s become popular among right-wing commentators – that the “left wing media” is not to be trusted, suggesting the Post, which broke the Moore story, is part of a politically-motivated campaign to take the former Alabama Supreme Court justice down.
“They attacked my teenage son in the left-wing media, they attacked my dead mother’s reputation,” Gorka said. “We’re living in this crazy world of smear factories – let’s get to the bottom of it.”
To that, Kilmeade responded that there isn’t enough time to fully investigate the women’s claims before next month’s special election.
“We’ve only got to December 12,” he said.
‘A lot of people think Roy Moore should be removed’
Also during Thursday morning’s show, Conway refused to clarify President Donald Trump’s position on Moore’s candidacy. Last week, Trump called the accusations a “mere allegation … from many years ago” and said he was confident Moore “will do the right thing and step aside” if the stories are true.
Conway said the president “will make a statement when he wants to make a statement” about Moore, and refused to “get ahead of that.” She instead argued that the “mainstream media” is using the sexual assault allegations to distract from the administration’s policy work, namely the Republicans’ tax plan.
“I do find that the mainstream media want to talk about this issue more than almost anything else,” Conway said. “I’m sorry, but I think it’s incumbent upon everyone who has a role and a responsibility to inform people what’s going on on Capitol Hill to tell them what’s in this plan.”
Kilmeade responded that the media’s inattention to the tax reform efforts may actually be beneficial to Republicans, giving lawmakers the space to “go behind the scenes and roll their sleeves up and get into the details.” Kilmeade then turned back to Moore, arguing “no one can marginalize the details of a December 12 election, because a lot of people think Roy Moore should be removed.”
Conway responded that “there’s no Senate seat that’s worth more than a child,” but again accused the media of insufficiently covering Trump’s positions on international trade agreements and North Korea.
Doocy, looking to end the conversation, interrupted Conway, “Right, and Kellyanne, we ran his entire statement yesterday and we thank you very much for joining us.”