- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 13, 2017

President Trump reached out to Democrat Doug Jones after his stunning victory Tuesday night in Alabama’s Senate race, a special election that dealt the president one of his biggest defeats of his first year in office.

“Congratulations to Doug Jones on a hard fought victory,” Mr. Trumptweeted. “The write-in votes played a very big factor, but a win is a win.”

The president, who backed embattled Republican Roy Moore despite multiple allegations of sexual misconduct against the candidate, noted that Mr. Jones will need to face Alabama’s voters again in 2020.

“The people of Alabama are great, and the Republicans will have another shot at this seat in a very short period of time. It never ends!” Mr. Trump said on Twitter.

Mr. Jones‘ victory was a big setback for the president in the Senate and in his efforts with former White House strategist Steve Bannon to reshape the Republican Party.

The Democrat’s win means the GOP’s Senate majority will be shaved to a narrow 51-49 margin in January, when Mr. Jones is seated. That will make it even tougher for Mr. Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky to get the president’s agenda through the Senate.

The Alabama special election also was a political earthquake for the White House, which backed two losing candidates in a red state that hadn’t elected a Democrat to the Senate since 1992.

Mr. Trump at first endorsed Republican Luther Strange, an establishment candidate who was appointed by the governor to fill the Senate seat vacated by Attorney General Jeff Sessions until the special election. Mr. Bannon campaigned against Mr. Strange in the GOP primary, saying he would be an ally of Mr. McConnnell.

Mr. Bannon instead campaigned hard for Mr. Moore as the insurgent conservative who would shake up Washington. But after Mr. Moore pulled off the surprising win in the primary, accusations began to pour in from women who said Mr. Moore had engaged in sexual improprieties with them decades ago when many of them were teenagers and he was in his 30s.

Mr. Moore denied all the allegations, but the scandal put the president in a political bind. Mr. Trump delayed an endorsement but eventually came out for Mr. Moore, recognizing that his party’s grip on the Senate was at stake.

The president held a campaign rally in nearby Pensacola, Florida, the week before the election and recorded a robocall for Mr. Moore, urging Alabama voters to back Mr. Moore.

“The people of Alabama will do the right thing,” Mr. Trump tweeted on election day. “Doug Jones is Pro-Abortion, weak on Crime, Military and Illegal Immigration, Bad for Gun Owners and Veterans and against the WALL. Jones is a Pelosi/Schumer Puppet. Roy Moore will always vote with us. VOTE ROY MOORE!”

As Mr. Trump tied himself to Mr. Moore, Democrats blasted him for supporting a “child molester,” and they revived old allegations of sexual misconduct against the president himself.

Mr. Trumptweeted again Wednesday morning about Mr. Moore’s loss.

“The reason I originally endorsed Luther Strange (and his numbers went up mightily), is that I said Roy Moore will not be able to win the General Election. I was right! Roy worked hard but the deck was stacked against him!” the president tweeted.

In the Senate, Mr. Jones might need to moderate his voting on issues, as he’s likely to face a Republican challenger in two years who is a more viable candidate that Mr. Moore was.


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