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Trump doesn't think Moore loss will hurt agenda

Tuesday's Republican loss was a major embarrassment for the president and a fresh wound for the nation's already divided GOP.

Posted: Dec 13, 2017 6:49 AM
Updated: Dec 13, 2017 1:20 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Donald Trump says he "would have liked" embattled Roy Moore to have won the Alabama Senate race, though he acknowledges many fellow Republicans disagree.

Trump tells reporters at the White House that "a lot of Republicans feel differently. They're very happy with the way it turned out."

But the president says that "as the leader of the party, I would have liked to have had the seat."

Trump says he doesn't believe Moore's loss will affect the White House agenda, even though the Republicans edge in the Senate narrower now.

He says it will be important to elect more Republicans to Congress in 2018.

Trump had endorsed Moore despite the fact that Moore's campaign was dogged by allegations of sexual misconduct.

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1:10 p.m.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says Democrat Doug Jones' upset victory in Alabama was "an impressive election."

That's the response when the Kentucky Republican was asked what he thought about Jones' defeat of GOP candidate Roy Moore in Tuesday's race.

McConnell calls it "quite an impressive election. It was a big turnout and an unusual day."

Jones' victory will narrow the GOP edge in the Senate to 51-49. He's expected to be sworn into office early next month.

Moore's campaign was rocked after reports that he sexually assaulted teenagers decades ago, when he was in his 30s.

Alabama is overwhelmingly Republican, and Jones is the first statewide Democrat elected in the state in a quarter-century.

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10:35 a.m.

President Donald Trump is striking a conciliatory tone toward congressional Republicans after Roy Moore's election defeat.

Trump tweets that if Moore's loss to Democrat Doug Jones in the Alabama Senate race "proved anything, it proved that we need to put up GREAT Republican candidates to increase the razor thin margins in both the House and Senate."

Trump's postelection assessment seems to be an implicit rebuke of his former strategist, Steve Bannon.

Bannon was one of Moore's staunchest backers, and he's pledged to run populist challengers against traditional GOP candidates in the primaries.

Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell has said the party needs "to nominate people who can actually win, because winners make policy and losers go home."

McConnell and Trump backed Moore's GOP rival, Sen. Luther Strange, in the September primary.

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6:30 a.m.

President Donald Trump is defending his decision to initially back Sen. Luther Strange against Roy Moore in Alabama's Senate election, saying in a predawn tweet that "Roy worked hard but the deck was stacked against him."

"I was right!" the president said in a pre-dawn Twitter post Wednesday, a day after Democrat Doug Jones narrowly defeated Moore, a former state Supreme Court chief justice who was buffeted by allegations of sexual misconduct.

Trump notes in his social media post that the reason he originally sided with Strange was that "I said Roy Moore will not be able to win the General Election."

The president had sent a tweet late Tuesday congratulating Jones, a former federal prosecutor, on his "hard fought victory."

___

3:40 a.m.

In a stunning victory aided by scandal, Democrat Doug Jones won Alabama's special Senate election, beating back history, an embattled Republican opponent and President Donald Trump, who urgently endorsed GOP rebel Roy Moore despite a litany of sexual misconduct allegations.

It was the first Democratic Senate victory in a quarter-century in Alabama, one of the reddest of red states, and proved anew that party loyalty is anything but certain in the age of Trump. Tuesday's Republican loss was a major embarrassment for the president and a fresh wound for the nation's already divided GOP.

"We have shown not just around the state of Alabama, but we have shown the country the way - that we can be unified," Jones declared as supporters in a Birmingham ballroom cheered, danced and cried tears of joy. Still in shock, the Democrat struggled for words: "I think that I have been waiting all my life, and now I just don't know what the hell to say."

(Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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