U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan wouldn’t elaborate Friday when asked what distinguishes allegations of sexual misconduct against U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore from those facing President Donald Trump.
NPR posed the question to Ryan, R-Janesville, in a radio interview.
“I’m focused on Congress,” Ryan responded. “My job here as Speaker of the House is to help make sure that Congress is an institution that we’re proud of.”
Moore “is running for Congress, and I think the allegations against him were very, very credible.”
Ryan previously called for Moore, R-Ala., to withdraw from Alabama’s U.S. Senate race after at least five women came forward to allege sexual misconduct while they were in their teens and Moore was in his 30s. One said Moore initiated a sexual encounter with her when she was 14. Moore has denied the allegations.
Trump has denied the allegations against him as well. More than a dozen women came forward in the waning days of the 2016 presidential election to say Trump had sexually assaulted or harassed them.
In a 2005 “Access Hollywood” recording made public in October 2016, Trump bragged of grabbing women by their genitals without asking because “when you’re a star, they let you do it; you can do anything.”
Pressed on whether there’s a difference between the allegations against Moore and those against Trump, Ryan demurred.
“I haven’t spent my time reviewing the difference between these two cases,” Ryan said.
Ryan also said the recent flood of sexual harassment and sexual assault allegations could become a “watershed moment” in changing the culture, including on Capitol Hill, that previously kept them out of public view.
“I think we’re all realizing that sexual harassment in America is absolutely pervasive and it’s got to go and we need to end it,” Ryan said.