WASHINGTON - The Director of the Office of Management and Budget Mick Mulvaney on Sunday defended President Trump's silence on the sexual misconduct accusations against Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore, while a national conversation has bubbled up over the prevalence of sexual harassment in politics.
"He has said that he thinks that the voters of Alabama should decide," Mulvaney told Andrea Mitchell on Sunday's "Meet The Press. "I think that's the most commonsense way to look at it."gi
Mulvaley said he believes the accusations "are credible," but he still doesn't know "who to believe."
Nine women have come forward with accusations against Moore, the Republican nominee and former Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, including one woman who said she was 14 when Moore initiated a sexual encounter with her when he was 32. Moore has denied the allegations.
Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., said on Sunday's "Meet The Press" that he felt "the women's story was more credible than [Moore's] response," but added that the voters of Alabama "know Roy Moore a lot better" than he does.
President Trump was quick to take aim this week at Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., after a woman came forward to accuse Franken of groping her in 2006. Franken has apologized. But the president has not been vocal on Moore, did not answer when asked about him earlier this week, and he has not called for Moore to back out of the race.
The president's relative silence on Moore and the national conversation on the pervasiveness of sexual harassment in America has drawn renewed attention to women who made their own allegations against Trump last year during the 2016 presidential campaign. More than a dozen women publicly came forward to accuse Trump of sexual misconduct -- all stories Trump has denied.
When asked about Trump's accusers, Blunt said, "whatever they had to say, people heard that and they elected President Trump President of the United States. At some point I think you ought to let the voters have a say here."
The allegations bubbling up against lawmakers recently has ushered in a new focus on the role of sexual harassment in Congress, and both the House and the Senate have recently taken action to implement new mandatory anti-harassment training for members and staff.
Many lawmakers on Capitol Hill are trying to take that action further.
Rep. Barbara Comstock, R-Va., told a story this week to the House Committee on House Administration that she heard secondhand about a Capitol Hill staffer who quit her job after a current member of Congress answered the door exposed himself to her.
On "Meet The Press," Comstock said she believes the women who have levied accusations against Moore, and she claimed she was the first female member of Congress to call on Moore to step aside. "On that matter, Al Franken can go out the door with him," she added.
Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-Mich., added on "Meet The Press" that she doesn't "know a woman who doesn't have a story."
The process of reporting sexual harassment on Capitol Hill is a long and cumbersome experience for those who are levying the accusations.
Comstock spoke about their work to implement a new sexual harassment policy within Congress, saying they wanted "zero tolerance, anti-harassment policies in place" and didn't want to let any members "have a pay fund for their harassment… keep the focus on these women experiencing this."