Nasty swipe at Ivanka Trump
DONALD Trump's daughter Ivanka has been drawn into a particularly toxic campaign in the US, with one of the President's most provocative allies taking a shot at her.
Voting is now under way in the special Alabama senate election, which has been engulfed by an accusation that the Republican candidate, Roy Moore, sexually assaulted a 14-year-old girl.
Despite the allegations - which also include that Mr Moore preyed on six women when they were teenagers and he was in his 30s - the President has given full-throated support to the conservative judge via Twitter and on "robocalls" to Alabama voters.
The polls show that Mr Moore's Democratic rival, Doug Jones, is within a few points of securing a win - a remarkable feat in a staunchly Republican state that has not elected a progressive to the senate or governor's office in nearly 20 years.
Mr Trump's former top political adviser, Steve Bannon, has been among Mr Moore's fiercest advocates and the right-wing firebrand spoke at a rally for the candidate on Monday where he took a veiled swipe at Ivanka.
Without mentioning her by name, Mr Bannon blasted those who didn't stand with Mr Trump in supporting Mr Moore.
"Mitch McConnell and Senator Shelby, and Condi Rice and all that, Little Bobby Corker, all the establishment out there doesn't have Trump's back at all," he said.
"There's a special place in hell for Republicans who should know better."
The use of the phrase "a special place in hell" parrots what Ivanka said when the claims against Mr Moore first came to light.
"There's a special place in hell for people who prey on children," Ivanka told Associated Press last month when asked about Mr Moore.
"I've yet to see a valid explanation and I have no reason to doubt the victims' accounts."
Democrats have turned Ivanka's quotes into one of its most powerful campaign ads, with the statement plastered across billboards and blasted out of loud speakers during rallies.
A digital billboard on the side of a truck, across the street from Trump’s rally tonight in Pensacola, FL pic.twitter.com/6BaDOAf90o— Henry J. Gomez (@HenryJGomez) December 8, 2017
Ivanka's response to the allegations was markedly different to her father's, who cast a whole heap of doubt on the accusers' claims.
When asked last month whether he believed the accounts of the women, Mr Trump repeatedly said that Mr Moore "denies it".
"If you look at what is really going on … he totally denies it, he says it didn't happen," he said.
The President has chosen to ignore the women's accounts and argued that Alabama electing a Democrat would be bad for the country and the "Make America Great Again" agenda.
The people of Alabama will do the right thing. Doug Jones is Pro-Abortion, weak on Crime, Military and Illegal Immigration, Bad for Gun Owners and Veterans and against the WALL. Jones is a Pelosi/Schumer Puppet. Roy Moore will always vote with us. VOTE ROY MOORE!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 12, 2017
If the seat falls to Mr Jones, it will reduce the Republicans' majority in the Senate to 51, meaning legislation can be defeated if two on their side defect.
Mr Bannon's dig at Ivanka likely stems from the rivalry the anti-establishment flamethrower had with her and her moderate husband Jared Kushner back when Mr Bannon was working in the White House.
Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace went so far back in April to call the rift between Mr Bannon and Mr Kushner a "Game Of Thrones inside the White House".
Mr Moore, meanwhile, was a controversial candidate even before the sex allegations, which he strongly denies.
He is a former chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, where he stood strongly against gay rights and abortion.
He once argued that "homosexual conduct" among parents was "harmful" to children and rendered people "unfit" for having custody, even of their own children.
"Homosexual conduct … is, and has been, considered abhorrent, immoral, detestable, a crime against nature, and a violation of the laws of nature and of nature's God upon which this nation and our laws are predicated," he said in 2002.
Mr Moore has also turned to penning verse to extol his pro-life views.
"Babies piled in dumpsters, abortion on demand, Oh, sweet land of liberty, your house is on the sand," he wrote in 2007.
It is not clear how much the sex harassment allegations will affect the vote for Mr Moore, who turned up to his polling place on horseback.
A poll of 2000 Alabama voters out this week showed that only 42 per cent believed the accusations against Mr Moore.
This likely shows his argument that the women's accusations are politically motivated lies is credible to many Alabamians.
White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the allegations were "troubling" but that it was up to the voters of Alabama to decide on them in the voting booth.
The senate seat became vacant after Mr Trump appointed Jeff Sessions as attorney-general.