Share Bob Daemmrich: Ted Cruz/Roy Moore campaign/Shelby Knowles: John CornynAlabama Senate candidate Roy Moore, center, flanked by U.S. Sens. Ted Cruz (left) and John Cornyn.Texas’ two U.S. senators found themselves under intense pressure Thursday after explosive allegations surfaced that a candidate both men have endorsed pursued underage teenage girls decades ago. The Washington Post is reporting that Roy Moore, the Alabama Republican nominee in an upcoming Senate special election to succeed U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, tried to become romantically involved with four girls between the ages of 14 and 18 while he was in his 30s. U.S. Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz have both endorsed Moore in his bid. Less than an hour after the story broke, senators were called to their chamber for a routine vote and were met with a crush of reporters. Cornyn, the second-ranking GOP senator, called the allegations “deeply disturbing and troubling.” “I think it’s up to the governor and the folks in Alabama to make that decision as far as what the next step is,” he said. Cruz declined to answer questions as he passed reporters. A cascade of other GOP senators — including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell — told reporters that if the allegations are true, Moore must drop out of the race. Cornyn then returned to reporters. “Obviously, it’s very troubling, but I think people are trying to sort it out and figure out what the appropriate response is, including Sen. [Luther] Strange,” he said, referring to the temporarily-appointed senator whom Moore defeated in the GOP primary.“If it is true… I don’t think this candidacy is sustainable, but we believe in a presumption of innocence until proven guilty, and so I think it’s important for the facts to come out.” Cruz is in a particularly complicated political position. Prior to the Washington Post report, Brietbart News had its own pre-emptive story that was highly defensive of Moore. Former White House adviser Steve Bannon runs the website. He recently threatened to challenge every GOP senator in their primaries with the exception of Cruz.
Sal Ardito holds his Bible while looking over the sidewalk memorial in front of the Emanuel AME Church on Friday, June 19, 2015 in Charleston, S.C. Dylann Storm Roof, 21, is accused of killing nine people during a Wednesday night Bible study at the church.As the nation remembered the nine lives lost in the Charleston, S.C. church shooting, so did clergy and residents in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area.Two prayer vigils were held on June 19, at the Metropolitan AME Church and the African-American Civil War Memorial and Museum. During the vigils mourners remembered the victims, preached togetherness and forgiveness, and discussed topics prevalent in the struggle for African American justice and equality including White supremacy, “Black Lives Matter,” and church bombings.“I am grateful that God’s greatness is not diminished by tragedy,” Rev. Tony Lee, senior pastor of Community of Hope AME Church in Temple Hill, Maryland, said during the prayer vigil. “We pray for the healing of community….We are here from all different views, from all different backgrounds, from all different stations in life believing that the Lord can make a way.”During the vigil, Lee spoke of an experience with a White Uber driver in Charleston. He said the driver told him that something happened in his heart after he heard Christians were killed in church. Lee told the congregation that the driver showed him that “sometimes it takes great pain to bring great healing…[but] God was still in the midst of it all.”Churchgoers prayed for the families of the victims: Cynthia Hurd, 54; Susie Jackson, 87; Ethel Lance, 70; Rev. DePayne MiddletonDoctor, 49; Rev. Clementa Pinckney, 41; Tywanza Sanders, 26; Rev. Daniel Simmons Sr., 74; Rev. Sharonda Singleton, 45; Myra Thompson, 59.The vigil outside the museum rang a different tune, calling for restitution and justice for the lives lost. “What was on that paper [Bill of Rights],was to stop your struggle, said Eugene Puryear, D.C. Council At-Large candidate. “The war for Black America has not stopped…. We have to change our mindset.”He added, “This is a struggle for Blacks, but also a struggle for human beings.”A poster of the fallen was displayed with each victim pointed to so the crowd would know who they were as their names were called. “How many days will it take when we say we can’t take no more!” Abdul Khadie Muhammad, a member of the Nation of Islam, said.According to Bishop Adrian A. Taylor, Sr. of the Shabbath Commandment Church in Oxen Hill, Maryland, the only way to gain justice was to hurt the pockets of White supremacists. “We need to organize and boycott,” Taylor said.Linda Poulson contributed to this article.