Ohio Gov. John Kasich is joining the Republicans who are calling on Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore to leave the race after four women said he had inappropriate contact with them as teenagers.
Speaking on ABC’s "This Week" on Sunday, Kasich said Moore stepping aside would be best for Republicans and said it's not a partisan issue.
“I just think it’s inappropriate, and I really would like it if he stepped aside,” Kasich said. "He can continue to defend himself, but at the end, the party ought not be for this."
Four women told the Washington Post that Moore pursued relationships with them when they were between the ages of 14 and 18 in the late 1970s, when Moore would have been in his early 30s. The youngest alleged victim told the Post that Moore kissed and fondled her, although the two did not have sexual intercourse.
Sen. Rob Portman echoed Kasich's call last Thursday.
“If what we read is true, and people are on the record, so I assume it is, he should step aside," Portman said.
While pressure to quit the race four weeks before Election Day has intensified, Moore assured supporters Sunday night at a Huntsville, Alabama, gym that the Washington Post story was "fake news."
Moore called allegations that he was involved with a minor child completely false. The former judge also questioned why such allegations would be leveled for the first time so close to the special election in spite of his decades in public life.
Other Republicans calling for Moore to leave the race include Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania.
The White House has been more reserved with its criticism of Moore.
“I think there’s a special place in hell for those who actually perpetrate these crimes," White House legislative aide Marc Short said Sunday on NBC’s "Meet the Press."
“But, having said that, he hasn’t been proven guilty,” Short said. “We have to afford him the chance to defend himself.”
It’s already too late for Moore to be replaced on the ballot for next month’s special election. Some other Republicans have floated the name of Luther Strange, who lost to Moore in a runoff election, as a possible alternative for a write-in campaign.