— CNN (@CNN) November 10, 2017
It’s fair to say that Republicans were caught off guard by the Washington Post‘s bombshell story about Alabama GOP Senate hopeful Roy Moore. The paper published allegations from a woman claiming that Moore had sexual contact with her when she was 14, and he was 32. Several in the party, including Mike Pence and Mitt Romney, have denounced Moore, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell quickly stated, “If these allegations are true, he must step aside.” However, the above video shows McConnell after making that statement (per CNN’s Chris Cillizza), and it is awkward to behold.
Nothing in the above clip presents a good look. Several leading Republicans refuse to talk about Moore while the press shouts questions for a full 44 seconds. McConnell, along with Senators Chuck Grassley and Orrin Hatch, smiles while appearing to pray for a distraction. Grassley even laughs while attempting to wave the press off: “Goodbye, everybody.” Since this was a gathering for the GOP tax plan, Treasury Secretary Stephen Mnuchin is also present and wearing a tight-lipped expression vaguely resembling a grin, although he also looks like he’d rather be producing Suicide Squad 2.
Well, at least this isn’t as embarrassing as Sean Hannity’s messy defense of Moore, although that’s a tough standard to beat.