Fox News host Sean Hannity apologized Thursday night for “not being totally clear” after he defended Alabama judge Roy Moore, a GOP Senate candidate, who is accused of initiating a sexual encounter with a 14-year-old girl when he was 32.
“As I said on TV tonight, I apologize when I misspoke and was not totally clear earlier today,” Hannity tweeted. “It’s really sad when the lazy media in this country cuts and pastes a deceptive and out-of-context comment by a Soros-funded radical left-wing group that has purposefully taken me out of context for years.”
The “Soros-funded radical left-wing group” Hannity is referring to is Media Matters, which posted a transcript of a conversation that happened on Hannity’s radio show. Hannity expressed doubt that the allegations against Moore, now 70, were true, saying “there are false allegations made” and suggested that some accusations may be made for “political reasons.” According to the transcript, Hannity also appears to suggest that Moore’s alleged 1979 encounter with the teen was “consensual,” though Hannity later denied to Jake Tapper that this was his intent.
Leigh Corfman said she was 14 when Moore, then a 32-year-old assistant DA, first approached her as she sat with her mother on a bench outside a courtroom and offered to watch her while her mom went inside for a child custody hearing. Days later, he drove her to a woods and removed her shirt and pants and his own and molested her, Corfman told the Washington Post. Three other women say Moore romantically pursued them while they were between the ages of 16 and 18, though the relationships didn’t progress beyond kissing.
Moore has denied all allegations and dismissed them as a political attack from Democrats and the Washington Post. Prominent Republicans have condemned Moore’s actions “if true,” including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Other Republicans — such as Sen. John McCain of Arizona and Mitt Romney — have gone a step further and called for Moore to withdraw from the race.