Controversial Republican Judge Roy Moore had a stern response to President Trump on Wednesday, indicating that the people of Alabama wouldn't withhold their votes because of Trump's refusal to support him in 2020.
“The president doesn’t control who votes for the United States Senate in Alabama,” he said, according to Politico.
Trump, who backed Moore as he faced sexual misconduct allegations during his Senate bid in 2017, said on Wednesday that he had "NOTHING" against Moore but didn't think he could win a 2020 bid.
"If Alabama does not elect a Republican to the Senate in 2020, many of the incredible gains that we have made during my Presidency may be lost, including our Pro-Life victories," he said.
Moore pushed back on the president's comments, arguing, "People in Alabama are smarter than that. They elect the senator from Alabama, not from Washington, D.C.”
In another interview, Moore suggested that the president was backing away from his candidacy because "people in Washington" pressured him.
“I think the president is coming under pressure from people in Washington, scared that I will run for the Senate, scared I will win and know I can win," he reportedly said.
“Everybody knows I can win and that’s what’s worrying in Washington," he added. Sen. Doug Jones, D-Ala., who beat Moore in 2017, was amused by Republicans' response to Moore after defending him during their special election.
"It has been so amusing watching all the handwringing by establishment Republicans who were all in for Roy Moore with his cowboy suit & little gun in 2017," he said alongside a link to Politico's story. "Sorry Roy, guess they’re just not that into you anymore."
Moore's interest in 2020 reportedly faced opposition from the Senate GOP's campaign group and apparently Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., who criticized Moore in 2017.
When asked whether he would support Moore's run, McConnell simply said: "I think you know the answer to that."
During the 2017 election, the National Republican Senatorial Committee called for the Senate to expel Moore from that chamber if he managed to win. Amid news of a potential 2020 run, Sen. Todd Young, R-Ind., who leads that group, pushed back on Moore's potential candidacy.
"The people of Alabama rejected Roy Moore not too long ago," he said. He added that "I, along with my Republican colleagues, always want to be supportive of the most conservative candidate who can actually win a race, and I don't see that anything has changed in the state of Alabama since the last election."