(CNN) — President Donald Trump will not travel to Alabama to campaign for Roy Moore ahead of the December 12 special election, the White House said Monday, citing conflicts with his schedule.
With a little more than two weeks left in the race, the President has sought to boost Moore’s Senate bid, citing his denials of accusations that he sexually assaulted women as young as 14 years old when he was in his 30s and criticizing his Democratic opponent Doug Jones.
“The President is not planning any trip to Alabama at this time,” White House press secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters. “Frankly, his schedule doesn’t permit him doing anything between now and Election Day.”
Asked about reports that Trump would not campaign on Moore’s behalf in the state, Moore’s deputy campaign manager Hannah Ford told CNN: “We are incredibly grateful to have the President’s support and are gearing up for a strong two weeks leading up to victory on the 12th.”
Trump had left open the possibility that he would campaign for Moore in Alabama while speaking to reporters before he departed the White House for the Thanksgiving holiday.
“I’ll be letting you know next week. But I can tell you, you don’t need somebody who’s soft on crime, like Jones,” Trump said.
In September, Trump traveled to Huntsville, Alabama, to campaign for sitting Republican Sen. Luther Strange, who faced off with Moore in the Republican primary. During that rally, Trump said he told Strange that if Moore won he would be “campaigning like hell for him.” Trump was furious when Strange lost to Moore by nine points, and vented to his political team because he felt they had misled him by encouraging him to endorse Strange.
In recent days, Trump has cited Moore’s denials when asked if having an accused child molester in the seat is better than a Democrat not aligned with his agenda.
“Look, he denies it,” Trump said. “I mean, if you look at what is really going on, and you look at all the things that have happened over the last 48 hours, he totally denies it. He says it didn’t happen. And, you know, you have to listen to him also.”
Moore will make his first public appearance in several days during a rally in Fort Payne, Alabama, Monday night.
Trump has also accused Jones, who successfully prosecuted members of the Ku Klux Klan who killed four young girls when they bombed a black church in Birmingham in 1963, of being “soft on crime.”
“We don’t need a liberal person in there, a Democrat,” Trump said. “I’ve looked at his record. It’s terrible on crime. It’s terrible on the border. It’s terrible on military.”
On Monday, Trump tweeted: “Can’t let Schumer/Pelosi win this race. Liberal Jones would be BAD!”