Alabama Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore is in Washington, D.C., for a fundraiser with the Republican National Committee and the National Senate Republican Committee on Wednesday night. The event was advertised as being hosted by Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Sen. Mike Lee (R-Lee), though Lee's spokesman said Tuesday that "tomorrow's fundraiser is not on our schedule."
And that was just one of the awkward aspects of Moore's time rubbing elbows with his potential future colleagues.
Moore made an appearance at the Senate GOP's weekly policy luncheon, speaking for a spell with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) — whom he vowed to oppose as majority leader if elected — and shaking hands with a handful of senators who mostly supported his rival in the GOP primary. The senator who introduced him, John Barrasso (Wyo.), claimed he hadn't heard Moore's more fringe comments about banning homosexuality and Muslims not serving in Congress. Moore himself told reporters he wouldn't discuss any "issues" or past comments. Most GOP senators said they would back him as their party's nominee or, as Sen. Orrin Hatch (Utah) said, oddly, "If he gets duly elected, I'm going to support him."
Most Republican senators also tried to keep some distance, though. "He stood up and was pleasant in his comments," said Sen. Bob Corker (Tenn.). "I have nothing to do whatsoever with what's happening in the Senate race in Alabama." And one, Sen. Jeff Flake (Ariz.), denounced Moore later in a floor speech, saying: "When a judge expressed his personal belief that a Muslim should not be a member of Congress because of his faith, it was wrong. That this same judge is now my party's nominee for the Senate should concern us all. Religious tests have no place in the United States Congress."
According to an internal GOP poll, Moore has a 17-point lead over Democrat Doug Jones for the Dec. 12 election, though other polls put the race closer.