Add North Carolina’s junior senator to the list of politicians who think the allegations of sexual misconduct against Roy Moore should be investigated.
Sen. Thom Tillis had previously called on Moore, who’s running for a vacant Alabama Senate seat, to withdraw from the race. Moore is a former Alabama chief justice who’s accused by several women of a range of misconduct, from inappropriate touching to sexual assault. Both Tillis and Moore are Republicans.
Moore has denied the allegations and is staying in the race. So Thursday, Tillis echoed Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in saying the Senate should investigate Moore if he’s elected.
“I think we have to first move with an ethics investigation. We need to examine the facts and let those facts lead us where they may,” he told BuzzFeed’s AM to DM show.
Among North Carolina Republicans, Tillis has been Moore’s most vocal critic. Sen. Richard Burr also called for Moore to withdraw from the race, but other Republicans remain silent.
Earlier this week, former Gov. Pat McCrory said on his radio show that Republicans and Democrats are “putting aside values for the sake of a political agenda.” He was referring to Moore and Sen. Al Franken, the Democrat from Minnesota who faces accusations of harassment, before Franken announced Thursday he would step down.
Dallas Woodhouse, executive director of the N.C. GOP, told the N&O on Tuesday that his group won’t take a position on Moore or the claims against him.
The N.C. Democratic Party on Monday called on the state’s top Republicans – Lt. Gov. Dan Forest, state Senate leader Phil Berger and state House Speaker Tim Moore – to take a position on Moore. So far, they haven’t.
Top Democrats in the N.C. General Assembly called on Franken to step down ahead of his announcement Thursday, while Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper denounced harassment more generally.
As for Tillis, he said the Senate can’t procedurally prevent Moore from being seated if he’s elected.
“But we do have jurisdiction over members, and we use an ethics investigation and see what remedies come out of that,” Tillis said.
“I’m going to stay out of a race that I don’t have a vote in,” he added. “And then as a member of a body that Mr. Moore might be admitted to, I’m going to try to get the facts to the point where we can take appropriate action.”