BY CHRIS JOHNSON, WASHINGTON BLADE
President Trump may have said on Twitter Roy Moore “sounds like a really great guy,” but White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was busy Thursday distancing Trump from the U.S. Senate candidate over his anti-gay views.
In response to questions from mainstream media outlets, Sanders said Trump, who has own his anti-LGBT record, doesn’t share the views of Moore, who’s said homosexual conduct should illegal and called on Alabama to ignore the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in favor of same-sex marriage. On Tuesday, Moore won a Republican primary to run for an open seat representing Alabama in the U.S. Senate.
Asked by Bloomberg News about Moore’s anti-gay comments as well as his stated belief Muslims shouldn’t able to serve in Congress, Sanders initially refused to weigh in.
“As we’ve said many times before, I’m not going to get into back-and-forth on political endorsements from the podium, so I’m not going to weigh in on a specific race ahead of time at this point,” Sanders said.
But Sanders put some distance between Trump and Moore in response to follow-up questions. When asked if the president shares the Alabama Republican’s views, Sanders replied, “Not that I’m aware of.”
“I have not taken a deep dive on every comment that the Senate nominee has made,” Sanders added. “But I certainly know where the president stands on those issues, and wouldn’t see any parallel between the two of them on that front.”
Asked if a Republican candidate could take action or hold views that would bar Trump from endorsing that candidate, Sanders refused to comment based on the hypothetical nature of the question.
“I know where the president stands on specific issues — that’s what I can speak out — not somebody else that’s a candidate for another office that’s not here,” Sanders said.
Asked if she’d condemn the comments, Sanders replied Trump doesn’t agree with Moore, but stopped short of issuing a condemnation of the anti-LGBT views.
“I would certainly say we don’t agree with those comments,” Sanders said. “But in terms of whether or not I’m going to get into the back-and-forth over another candidate, we’re here to focus on the president, the president’s agenda, and those are the questions and the people that I can answer for.
Trump’s approach to LGBT issues may not be the same as Moore’s, but still is filled with anti-LGBT actions. Among other things, Trump’s administration has revoked guidance assuring transgender kids access to schools restrooms, ordered the U.S. military to ban transgender troops and hired attorneys at the Justice Department who are litigating against gay rights under the law.