Sean Hannity was one of the loudest voices defending GOP Senate candidate from Alabama Roy Moore. The controversial former judge had already garnered plenty of criticism for his comments about same-sex marriage and 9/11, but the sexual misconduct allegations against him sent the controversy to another level. Not only had Moore been accused of a sexual encounter with a 14-year-old minor in 1979, another accuser has come forward to say Moore sexually assaulted her when she was 15 years old.
Beverly Young Nelson also came with a yearbook signed by Moore, casting doubt on his denials and sending many of his supporters and GOP mates running for the hills away from him. Hannity stood by Moore, though, and started to lose advertisers in the process. The Fox News personality didn’t defend Moore from the more salacious and illegal allegations, but he did stand by the former judge and spoke about an alleged prevalence of false accusations before inviting Moore to tell his side of the story on his radio show.
Now, in the face of the new allegations, advertisers leaving his program, and several high-profile Republicans calling for Moore to step down, Hannity seems to be willing to change stance. It’s a respectable move if you see this out of context, but quickly seems like a quick 180 in the form of an ultimatum to Moore to clear the air about the allegations against him. According to Mediaite, Hannity is giving the GOP candidate 24 hours to clear things up for everybody or remove himself from the race:
“Here’s where I am tonight,” Hannity continued. “Between this interview that I did and the inconsistent answers, between him saying ‘I never knew this girl’ and then that yearbook comes out. For me, the judge has 24 hours. He must immediately and fully come up with a satisfactory explanations for your inconsistencies that I just showed. You must remove any doubt. If he can’t do this, then Judge Moore needs to get out of this race.”
It was definitely a strong way to end his show on Tuesday and seems to leave Moore without many supporters in the mainstream conservative press. He still has the support of his base in Alabama, though, with many showing up to support him on Tuesday night at a local church rally. He also has the support of the folks at Breitbart news, even if they are inadvertently helping to support the story originally printed in the Washington Post.
Moore doesn’t seem to be willing to pull out of the Senate race in Alabama, so it seems that situation might end up being dramatic before the final vote tally is counted. We’ll see if Hannity keeps his eye on the timer and calls for Moore to drop out on Wednesday, but right now it seems the former judge has lost one of his biggest supporters.