Trump critics on social media were stunned Thursday night when comments that the president's pick for Alabama's Senate race, Roy Moore, made about slavery in September resurfaced online.
At a rally in Florence, Alabama, Moore told an African-American audience member that the last time America was "great" was when slavery was legal.
"I think it was great at the time when families were united," Moore said. "Even though we had slavery, they cared for one another...Our families were strong, our country had a direction."
The Republican candidate's comments were the subject of a tweet by former Obama Justice Department official Eric Columbus. The post garnered thousands of retweets within hours.
Many on social media denounced Moore's revisionist framing, noting that many families were forcibly separated to suit the desires of white households before slavery was outlawed.
Roy Moore misses the days of slavery because "our families were strong" then. Never mind that slavery was a systematic assault on black families and mass rape of black women. https://t.co/GDlo7BPf8r— Pema Levy (@pemalevy) December 7, 2017
Roy Moore says the last time America was great was during slavery…when families were ‘together’…what he fails to point out is the families of slaves were split up and sold separately.— GStuedler (@GStuedler) December 8, 2017
The only thing Moore deserves is termination…extreme.
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When someone says families were more united during slavery, it helps to ask which families.— Kendra "Gloom is My Beat" Pierre-Louis (@KendraWrites) December 8, 2017
It was nigh impossible to keep an enslaved family united when slave masters literally separated families, selling spouses and kids, piecemeal, for profit. https://t.co/yCATDCQKIx
At the same rally, Moore referred to Native Americans and Asian-Americans as "reds and yellows."
The Republican National Committee and President Donald Trump have officially backed the former judge, who made the comments weeks before the first of nine women publicly accused him of sexual misconduct. Two of the women have stated that he molested or sexually assaulted them when they were 14 and 15 years old and he was an adult.
As of Tuesday, Moore's Democratic opponent, Doug Jones, was leading him by four points in a poll by Big League-Gravis. But the same poll also found that 34 percent of about 1,200 Alabama voters did not believe the allegations of sexual abuse by Moore while 24 percent were undecided.
The White House has attempted to play both sides of the issue, with Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders telling reporters that the allegations were "very troubling," while Trump called Moore on Monday to offer his official endorsement.
On Twitter, some argued that Moore's outrageous claims about slavery and his racist rhetoric are exactly in line with Trump's agenda to "Make America Great Again."
What did y'all think MAGA referred to?!— mandarin seasons greetings (@TheRealMCSloth) December 7, 2017