State Representative Geoff Diehl, the Whitman Republican and US Senate candidate who often serves as a thorn in the side of his party’s establishment, is again going against the GOP grain. This time it’s his handling of the red hot issue of Roy Moore, the GOP’s Senate nominee in Alabama, who at least five women have accused of sexual misconduct.
Diehl’s position on the Moore controversy has created the first big sparks of the GOP race to oppose US Senator Elizabeth Warren and exposed the rift that the scandal has created for Republicans.
Governor Charlie Baker, the two other leading GOP Senate candidates, and a host of other party leaders haved called for Moore to be barred from the Senate — even if he is elected next month.
But Diehl, whose path to the nomination appears to be based on a strong showing among the state’s pro-Trump bloc, is carving out his own path. He is sticking with the “if true” phrase that Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell and the national GOP initially used but then dropped as allegations piled up against Moore. Those national Republicans now call for Moore to step out of the race.
“These are serious allegations,’’ Diehl said in a statement released to media this week. “If true, he should drop out.”
Winchester businessman John Kingston and longtime GOP operative Beth Lindstrom — both of whom announced their candidacies last month — took their rebuke of Moore further. They were adamant that, despite what the Alabama voters say in the Dec. 12 special election, Moore should not sit in the US Senate.
First, in a statement, Kingston accused Moore of not having the “character or judgment” to be a Senator and the GOP-controlled body should do “whatever means available to expel him from the chamber.”
Then Lindstrom, in an obvious swipe at Diehl without naming him, went further, saying “those who waffle” on the issue of Moore’s candidacy and the potential that he would be sworn in as a senator should be calling for Moore’s barring from taking a seat in the Senate..
“No Republican should remain silent on Roy Moore,’’ she said in a statement. “Those who continue to waffle on whether or not Roy Moore should get out of the race should realize they are siding with a person who has made unwanted sexual advances on underaged girls. Roy Moore should not be allowed in, near or around the U.S. Senate.”Frank Phillips can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.