- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 7, 2017

PENSACOLA, Fla. | President Trump’s scheduled visit here to the Florida panhandle Friday will put him about 20 miles from the Alabama border — close enough, analysts say, to rally his troops behind Roy Moore’s controversial U.S. Senate campaign and yet still far enough away to avoid the stink of what would be an embarrassing GOP loss if Mr. Moore falls short next week.

“It’s pretty smart on Trump’s part to generate media for Roy Moore without actually being in Alabama,” said Brent Buchanan, a Alabama-based GOP strategist. “Every news channel in the state and country will cover it. That’s worth a couple points for Roy Moore on Election Day.”

Five days out from Election Day, Mr. Moore could use some added assurance.

Polls show him locked in a tight race with Democrat Doug Jones, a former U.S. attorney and political newcomer who has benefited from a spate of sexual misconduct allegations women have leveled against Mr. Moore.

Back in Washington, Democrats have tried to seize the more high ground amid a national reckoning over allegations of inappropriate behavior by high-profile public figures by chasing Rep. John Conyers of Michigan and Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota out of Congress.

At Thursday’s daily briefing, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders brushed aside the idea Thursday that Mr. Trump is making a mistake with his official endorsement this week of Mr. Moore

“I’ve addressed this in depth,” Mrs. Sanders told reporters. “We think that the allegations are troubling and that ultimately this is something that the people of Alabama should decide.”

Sen. Cory Gardner, chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, sent a different message, telling The Weekly Standard “Roy Moore will never have the support of the senatorial committee.”

“We will never endorse him,” the Colorado Republican said. “We won’t support him.”

The Trump campaign is billing the commander-in-chief’s trip rally here in Pensacola as a chance to stand with the voters that powered him into The White House.

“Nothing inspires President Trump as much as connecting with hard working Americans at campaign rallies across the country,” said Michael S. Glassner, executive director of Donald J. Trump for President, Inc. “As the President’s historic tax reform plan, which he has said will be like rocket fuel in our economy, gets closer to passage, the timing for our campaign rally in Pensacola could not be better.”

Sam Fischer, political science professor at the University of South Alabama in nearby Mobile, said after backing Sen. Luther Strange’s failed primary bid that Mr. Trump could be hedging his bets by not campaigning with Mr. Moore.

“He may not want to be closely associated with a second candidate that might possibly lose the general election,” Mr. Fisher said. “Trump can offer support, assuming he mentions Moore, in close proximity to Alabama but not be obligated to devoting all his energy to promoting Moore’s election.”

Like Mr. Trump a year ago, Mr. Moore’s insurgent bid has splintered the GOP, winning him a slew of detractors, as well as praise from former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon and other pro-Trump voters who are fed up with lawmakers getting in the way of the “America First” agenda.

“They are not up their working for us,” said 76-year-old Boyd Langley, a Moore supporter in Alabama. “It is so funny how a person can run for office and be a poor broke son of a booger, and when he comes out of office he has pockets full, and retirement and insurance.”

“I just wish the Republican Party could get their game together,” Mr. Langley said.

There is a similar sentiment here in Pensacola, where Bobby Alexander, the owner of a full-service welding and hot rod repair garage, has a life-sized picture of Mr. Trump flashing a double thumbs up, displayed on his shop’s front window alongside a life-sized, white horned horse comprised up fiberglass that he said he got in a trade for a small cannon.

“I think he is doing the best he can with the idiots he got to work with,” Mr. Alexander, 72, said. “He’s got to deal with the Republican idiots and all the Democrat idiots.”

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