Three months after the words first came from his mouth, Roy Moore's comments on slavery, and America being "great," have resurfaced, sparking a negative reaction online. The comments come from a report published in September by the Los Angeles Times. The report, in part, details a rally that was held by Moore by he was running for the GOP nomination for Alabama's special Senate election.
What Did Moore Say?
At the rally, "one of the only African Americans in the audience" asked Moore when America was last great (a question made more relevant in politics by the "Make America Great Again" slogan). According to the Times, Moore responded, "I think it was great at the time when families were united — even though we had slavery — they cared for one another ... Our families were strong, our country had a direction."
How Did The His Comments Resurface?
The answer Moore provided at that September rally belatedly gained attention on Thursday, Dec. 7, after the quote was tweeted by Eric Columbus, a former federal employee that served at the Department of Justice and, subsequently, the Department of Homeland Security during former President Barack Obama's administration.
"Can't make this up -- Roy Moore said in September that the last time America was great was when we had slavery," Columbus tweeted.
Washington Post reporter Eugene Scott also tweeted out Roy Moore's quote from September. Both of the tweets were shared thousands of times and prompted responses that criticized the Alabama Senate candidate's assertion that "families were united" during times of slavery, despite the fact that slavery notoriously broke apart black families.
The responses came from people like actress Gabrielle Union, Martin Luther King Jr.'s daughter, Bernice King, and other members of the media.
"Greatness will NEVER include slavery," King wrote on Twitter. "This is violent, inhumane thinking. And it is appalling to think, let alone express."
John Podhoretz, a conservative columnist for the New York Post, also chimed in. He wrote, "for suggesting life was better during segregation and Jim Crow, [former Sen.] Trent Lott was run out of the Senate. Now Roy Moore is saying life was better under SLAVERY."
Here are some of the other notable responses:
Other controversial Moore statements have resurfaced.
Roy Moore's comments about slavery served as just one of multiple past quotes that resurfaced and gained negative attention on Thursday.
The conservative social media account Reagan Battalion was among a number of sources that shed light on Moore's past comments suggesting America is the "focus of modern evil." The same clip in which those comments were spoken was broadcast on Thursday night by CNN, which ran a reel of Moore's past interviews and comments.
The string of resurfaced comments is indicative of a fact that may have gotten lost among the controversy surrounding reports of Roy Moore's alleged past of pursuing teenage girls: the candidate had been drawing criticism, even from some fellow Republicans, before the Washington Post published the account of multiple women accusing Moore on the record of sexual misconduct. (Moore has denied allegations of wrongdoing.)
In October, Republican Sen. Ben Sasse (NE) told conservative writer Jonah Goldberg, "again, I'm not following Alabama closely, but you look at the Republican candidate there, and it doesn't look like to me that he’s out there advancing any articulate agenda of what conservatism stands for."
When Is The Election?
Despite calls from other Republicans like Sasse and Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) to step down from the race, Moore, who denies all allegation made against him, is set to head into election day as the GOP nominee. His Democratic opponent Doug Jones, a former U.S. attorney who prosecuted the Ku Klux Klan, has been neck-in-neck with Moore in the polls.
Among the appeals that Jones has used to gain voters is an ad that features Ivanka Trump's words to attack Moore's campaign.
The special election, which is being held to permanently fill the Senate seat vacated by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, will be held on Tuesday, Dec. 12.