Last Updated Nov 15, 2017 6:36 PM EST
Ivanka Trump told the Associated Press she believes the women who have accused Republican U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore of pursuing them as teenagers, saying there's a "special place in hell for people who prey on children."
"There's a special place in hell for people who prey on children," the president's daughter told the AP, asked to weigh in on the Alabama scandal. "I've yet to see a valid explanation and I have no reason to doubt the victims' accounts."
The comments from the president's daughter and special assistant—who has yet to comment publicly on the Moore situation since returning from his Asia trip — in a difficult position politically. He ignored shouted questions from the press on Thursday. So far, the White House has said Moore should step aside if the allegations are true, but many Senate Republicans have dispensed with qualifiers and are simply urging Moore to drop his bid. Moore and his campaign have made it clear that isn't what he intends to do, with his team holding a press conference on Wednesday afternoon questioning the legitimacy of his signature in one of his accusers' high school yearbook. Moore has decried the allegations as fake news, and attempts to dismantle his campaign.
Moments after that press conference,in which two more women accused Moore of inappropriate behavior — one accused him of grabbing her inappropriately and the other said he asked her out when she was 17 years old and he was in his 30s.
Tina Johnson said she was at Moore's office when she was 28 to sign over custody of her 12-year-old son to her mother, when Johnson said Moore came up behind her and groped her, grabbing her buttocks.
"He didn't pinch it; he grabbed it," Johnson said. The woman said she didn't tell her mother about it at the time, but later confided in a sister.
Early Wednesday evening, Moore's campaign blasted out an email including quotes from women who testified to Moore's character.
"I have known Roy for over 30 years," Moore's sister-in-law, Kandi Kisor Smith, said in the email. "I met him in 1984 when he met my sister in church and began dating her. He has always showed honor and dignity. I truly can't even begin to grasp that people would question his character. He has lived by what he preached since the day I met him."
"I have known Roy Moore for 25 years," said Brenda Parrish of Gallant, Alabama. "Roy has always been a kind, caring and generous Man of God. I have never heard anything bad said about Roy. He is a wonderful spiritual leader to his family and has exceptional character."
Republicans are scrambling to figure out what to do about Moore, with the Alabama special Senate election against Democrat Doug Jones just a few weeks away. A write-in campaign could split the vote, giving Jones a win. Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colorado, has suggested Republicans should expel Moore from the Senate if he wins. The National Republican Committee and National Republican Senatorial Committee have pulled their financial support from Moore's campaign.