AUBURN, Alabama (CNN) — Former NBA star Charles Barkley weighed in on the Alabama Senate race Saturday, saying embattled Republican candidate Roy Moore should be disqualified from the race because of his association with former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon.
“I mean Roy Moore is running with Steve Bannon as his right-hand man, who is a white separatist,” Barkley said, referring to Bannon’s support among the so-called alt-right movement. “I’m not even get into the women stuff, but how can you be a white separatist and represent all the constituents in your state? I mean everybody is going crazy over the sexual allegations. Roy Moore to me, when he brought in Steve Bannon, should have been disqualified.”
Barkley, who made the remarks to reporters before the Alabama-Auburn football game, added that the backing from Bannon should have “disqualified Roy Moore way before this women stuff came up.”
Moore is facing accusations that he pursued romantic relationships with several women when they were teenagers and he was in his 30s, including one woman who alleges she was 14 at the time she said Moore touched her inappropriately. The legal age of consent in Alabama is 16. Another woman has accused Moore of sexually assaulting her when she was 16.
Moore has repeatedly denied the allegations. His campaign did not immediately return a request for comment Saturday on Barkley’s remarks.
Bannon, who returned to the conservative news site Breitbart as its executive chairman after being ousted from the White House in August, has called the website a “platform for the alt-right,” a loose association of far-right groups that generally believe in such things as isolationism, protectionism and white nationalism. He has also called white supremacists “losers.”
Barkley, an Auburn graduate and native Alabaman, was being honored with a statue for his time at the university. The Hall of Fame basketball player, who considered running for governor of the state in 2014, said if he still lived in Alabama, he would vote for Democratic Senate candidate Doug Jones.
While many members of the GOP establishment have disavowed Moore, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan, President Donald Trump has not done so, telling reporters Tuesday, “I mean, Roy Moore denies it. And by the way, it is a total denial. And I do have to say 40 years is a long time. He’s run eight races and this has never come up. Forty years is a long time,” Trump said, pointing to the amount of time that has passed since the alleged behavior.
Moore is one of the several candidates Bannon is backing in his anti-establishment push to unseat incumbent Senate Republicans in primaries next year.