Politics

Jones, Trump Discuss Finding Common Ground

Senator-elect ducked question on whether Trump should resign

Alabama Democrat Doug Jones celebrates his victory over Judge Roy Moore. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Sen.-elect Doug Jones said he spoke with top Republicans Wednesday, including President Donald Trump, and discussed finding common ground.

The Democrat scored a stunning victory Tuesday night over GOP nominee Roy Moore in the special election for Alabama’s Senate seat.

Jones said he spoke with Trump, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and Alabama’s two GOP senators, Richard C. Shelby and Luther Strange. He also received a phone call from Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer.

Jones told reporters Wednesday that he had a “very gracious call” with the president, who had endorsed Moore.

“We talked about finding that common ground,” Jones said, adding that Trump invited him to the White House when he comes to Washington, D.C.

Jones declined to join other Senate Democrats who have called on Trump to resign over sexual harassment allegations. Those Democrats include Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., who campaigned for Jones over the weekend.

“I’m going to let Sen. Booker and other senators make that judgment right now,” said Jones, a former U.S. attorney, adding he is focused on Alabama issues. “I’m not going to go there on this right now.”

It is not clear when Jones will head to the Senate. The election results still need to be certified, and the certification deadline is Jan. 3.

In the meantime, Senate Republicans are hustling to move on a bill overhauling the tax code while they still have a two-seat majority. Jones declined to weigh in on whether the vote should be delayed until he is sworn-in, which Democrats are demanding.

He said he is hoping to play a role in securing funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program, and generally working across the aisle.

Jones did chuckle at National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman Cory Gardner’s suggestion he should vote with Republicans in order to truly represent the people of Alabama.

“I would expect a Republican to say that,” Jones said. “... The people of Alabama expect me to do the right thing and vote for the people of Alabama.”

Moore has still not conceded the race due to outstanding ballots and insists there should be a recount. Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill has said he did not believe certifying the results would change the outcome.

Jones said he clearly won and pointed out that Trump phoned him to offer his congratulations. Jones said he has not heard from Moore or Moore’s campaign.

“Do the right thing Roy,” Jones said when asked if he had a message for Moore. “It’s time that we heal.”

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