US President Donald Trump sought Wednesday to distance himself from an embarrassing defeat in Alabama, saying he had been right all along that Republican senate candidate Roy Moore could not win.
The former judge faced damaging accusations he had preyed on teenage girls as a younger man, but Trump endorsed him anyway in the final stretch of the campaign for a vacant US Senate seat.
Moore, now 70, lost the election Tuesday to Democratic candidate Doug Jones, a stunning upset in a deeply conservative southern state that has not elected a Democrat to the US Senate in a quarter century.
The defeat was a blow to Trump as well as to Moore — but in an early morning tweet Wednesday, the president recalled that he had originally endorsed Moore’s rival in the Republican primary, Luther Strange.
“The reason I endorsed Luther Strange (and his numbers went up mightily) is that I said Roy Moore will not be able to win the General Election. I was right!
“Roy worked hard but the deck was stacked against him!”
In an earlier tweet late Tuesday, Trump congratulated Jones on “a hard fought victory.”
“The write-in votes played a very big factor, but a win is a win,” he said.
Moore has yet to concede the loss, however, calling for a recount.
With 100 percent of Alabama precincts reporting, Jones won 49.9 percent of the vote compared to Moore’s 48.4 percent, a margin of nearly 21,000 votes out of 1.3 million cast, according to results posted by US media.