The top Senate Republican says if the report about Alabama candidate Roy Moore and sexual contact with a 14-year-old is true, he should drop out of the race. Moore has strongly denied the accusations, attributing them to the Democrats and The Washington Post, which broke the story.
"If these allegations are true, he must step aside", McConnell said Thursday.
Moore is running as a Republican in Alabama's upcoming December 12 special election to fill the seat once held by now U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
During a second visit, Moore touched her over her bra and underpants, Cortman says, according to the Post.
Of course, Moore has defined himself as being opposed to everything that McConnell and the national Republican establishment stands for, and, at least at first, judging from his campaign's reply to the story, Moore seems to be determined to brazen things out on familiar lines.
Corfman, then 14, told the newspaper that Moore picked her up around the corner from her home and took her to his place where he told her she was pretty and began kissing her. Corfman alleges that Moore approached her and her mother outside a courtroom in Etowah County, Alabama, offering to watch her while her mom went inside for a child custody hearing.
"I wanted it over with - I wanted out", she told the newspaper.
The problem for Republicans is, by law, it's too late to take Mr Moore's name off the ballot even if he decides to quit the race, which - given his history of bucking authority, judicial and otherwise - is no sure bet. Senator Cory Gardner of Colorado, who runs the National Republican Senate Committee, also put out a statement saying: "The allegations against Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore are deeply troubling".More news: Apple Lands New Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston TV Show
More news: Obama heads to downtown Chicago for jury duty
More news: Uber announces partnership with NASA on flying auto service
Debbie Wesson Gibson told the Washington Post that Moore asked her out when she was 17 years old and that they went on several dates but their physical involvement was limited to kissing. The age of consent is 16 in Alabama and has been since 1920.
Leigh Corfman told the Washington Post the sexual encounter occurred in early 1979, when she was 14-years of age, and Moore was 32.
"This garbage is the very definition of fake news and intentional defamation", his campaign added in the same statement. "[Luther] Strange", he said, referring to the temporarily-appointed senator whom Moore defeated in the GOP primary.
"The Washington Post has already endorsed the Judge's opponent, and for months, they have engaged in a systematic campaign to distort the truth about the Judge's record and career and derail his campaign".
Moore is a former chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court.
It's unclear what will happen to Moore's candidacy if he seeks to pull out before the special election against Democrat Doug Jones.
"If they are true, then he should seriously think about stepping aside", he said.