Gov. Rick Scott called allegations that Sen. Jack Latvala had groped women and made unwelcome remarks about their bodies “disgusting.”
On Tuesday, the governor used that same description when asked about Alabama GOP senate candidate Roy Moore, but this time he softened it with a qualifier.
Moore, the firebrand who was twice ousted from Alabama’s highest court, has been accused by five women of sexual misconduct, including one who said that Moore groped her in a locked car when she was 16 and another.
Moore has denied the allegations, and threatened to sue.
At a press conference in Jacksonville after announcing his budget proposal this morning, a reporter asked Scott if Moore should step aside from the Senate race.
“Whether it’s Roy Moore or what you read about the media reports from California or D.C. or Tallahassee, it’s disgusting. So, if any of those allegations are true, he ought to resign,” Scott said.
The governor was then asked if a different threshold exists regarding predatory behavior with minors.
“I think whether it’s minors, whether it’s women, anybody. I mean, let’s think about it. We all have children. We have nieces and nephews. I have daughters. Now I have grandsons. I expect people to be treated with respect. That’s what you always expect. So, if the allegations are true, he has to get out,” Scott said.
Other Republicans have been more pointed about wanting Moore, a former prosecutor, to get out of the race.
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush weighed in during an appearance on CNBC this week.
“This is not a question of innocence or guilt like in a criminal proceeding, this is a question of what’s right and what’s wrong. Acknowledging that you’re dating teenagers when you’re 32 years old as assistant state attorney is wrong. It’s just plain wrong,” Bush, a former Republican candidate, said during the CNBC interview.
“We need to stand for basic principles, and decency has to be one of those,” he went on. “In the really poisonous political environment we have right now, one of the rules I think has to apply is that when you attack somebody on the other party, and the other team, for doing something wrong, when it happens on your team you have an obligation, I think, to speak out as well.”