Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell changed his tone Sunday on whether he thought Alabama Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore should be in the Senate, saying he would "let the people of Alabama make the call" in the state's special election December 12.
On ABC's "This Week," McConnell said that if Moore wins, the Senate Ethics Committee would have to consider the allegations against him.
"I think we're going to let the people of Alabama decide a week from Tuesday who they want to send to the Senate, and then we'll address the matter appropriately," McConnell said.
Referring to the committee, the Kentucky Republican added: "I'm confident they'll come up with the right conclusion."
Last month, McConnell said he believed several women who have accused Moore of pursuing relationships with them when they were teenagers and he was in his 30s, saying he should "step aside." McConnell also told reporters in the past that the Republican Party was looking to see if a "write-in" option could be successful.
Last month, The Washington Post published a bombshell report on the allegationsbased on interviews with more than 30 people. One woman alleged she was 14 years old when Moore initiated sexual contact with her. The legal age of consent in Alabama is 16. After the report, another woman came forward to accuse Moore of sexually assaulting her when she was 16. Moore vehemently denies the allegations.
After McConnell said Moore should step aside, Moore tweeted that it was McConnell who should bow out of politics, saying he "has failed conservatives and must be replaced. #DrainTheSwamp."
Recent polling suggests Moore is at a slight disadvantage in the race. According to a Washington-Post Schar School Poll published Saturday, his Democratic opponent, Doug Jones, is up 3% among likely voters, with 50% to Moore's 47%.
The survey found that allegations against Moore of improper sexual behavior factored heavily in the candidate's declining numbers.
However, the poll also highlighted a continued division among Alabama voters on the validity of the allegations. Just 35 percent of likely voters said they believe Moore pursued relationships with teenage girls when he was in his 30s, while 37 percent said they are either unsure or do not have an opinion, and 28 percent said they do not believe the allegations, the poll found.