President Donald Trump has called on Roy Moore to admit defeat and concede after voters in Alabama chose to elect Democrat Doug Jones to the United States Senate on Tuesday.
Mr Moore has thus far refused to concede, instead indicating that he is waiting for direction from God.
“I think he should. He tried,” Mr Trump told reporters Friday when asked if Mr Moore, who the President endorsed, should let up.
The President had initially endorsed Mr Moore’s primary opponent, Senator Luther Strange, who also had the support of more centrist Republicans in Congress. Mr Moore was championed in the race by Mr Trump’s former White House strategist, Steve Bannon, who has vowed to upend the Republican establishment.
Mr Trump eventually endorsed Mr Moore, in spite of numerous claims that the Republican had pursued sexual relationships with teenage girls when he was in his 30s. Mr Moore has denied the allegations.
Mr Moore’s loss has been seen as a signal of general discontent with Mr Trump and his Republican control of Congress, and could imperil the President’s legislative agenda once Mr Jones is sworn into office. Before Tuesday, Alabama voters had not chosen a Democrat to represent them in the Senate in over 20 years.
Mr Jones, whose campaign courted black voters, has described his election as a unifying and historic day for his state.
“I have always believed that the people of Alabama have more in common than to divide us,” Mr Jones said on election night, just after returns indicated that he had won the race. “We have shown not just around the state of Alabama but we have shown the country the way that we can be unified.”
Mr Jones is likely to be sworn into office in January, although his swearing in could take place sooner if the state of Alabama certifies the election results, and if the Senate is unable to meet looming budget and funding deadlines that need to be agreed upon to keep the government running.