Jimmy Kimmel opened Thursday’s Jimmy Kimmel Live! with a searing takedown of Roy Moore, the controversial Senate candidate who has been accused of sexual misconduct with minors when he was in his 30s.
The monologue came after the two engaged in a Twitter war earlier in the day, which began with Moore accusing Kimmel of mocking his “Christian values” and challenging the late night host to go “man to man” on Moore’s home turn in Alabama.
“I accept the invitation, I will come down there. I’m going to come down to Gadsden, Alabama, with a team of professional cheerleaders,” ” Kimmel said, then referencing reports that Moore was banned from a shopping mall in the 1980s for badgering teenage girls.
“We’ll meet you at the mall. Don’t worry, I can get you in,” Kimmel continued. “And if, when the girls and I show up, if you can control yourself and behave, if you can somehow manage to keep little Roy in your little cowboy pants when those nubile cheerleaders come bounding in, you and I, we’ll sit down at the food court, we’ll have a little Panda Express, and we’ll talk about Christian values.”
“Or maybe when you say, ‘Come down to Alabama and we’ll do it man to man,’ maybe that means you’re challenging me to a fight, which is kind of what it sounds like,” Kimmel added later. “And if you are, I accept, by the way. I accept that invitation. There is no one I would love to fight more than you. I will put my Christian values aside just for you and for that fight.”
Moore, who has denied the allegations from six different women against him, calling them “false and misleading,” appeared sparked to go after Kimmel because of an incident at his Baptist church service in southern Alabama where Tony Barbieri — a comedian known for interrupting news events as part of Jimmy Kimmel Live! – called Moore “a man’s man” and screamed, “Does that look like the face of a molester?”
Though Moore, 70, said on Twitter that Kimmel was mocking his “Christian values,” Kimmel, a father of four, was quick to point out on Thursday’s show that he is a Christian himself.
“I made my first Holy Communion, I was confirmed, I pray, I support my church, one of my closest friends is a priest, I baptized my children,” Kimmel said. “Christian is actually my middle name. I know that’s shocking, but it’s true.”
“So if you’re open to it, when we sit down, I will share with you what I learned at my church. At my church, forcing yourself on underaged girls is a no-no. Some even consider it to be a sin,” Kimmel added. “Not that you did that, of course — allegedly. But when you commit a sin at our church, at our church we’re encouraged to confess and ask for forgiveness for the sin. Not to call the women you allegedly victimized liars and damage them even more. To confess.”
He continued: “But maybe your church is different. I don’t know. Let’s figure it out together. I’ll be happy to talk it through. I would gladly sit down to interview you about it.”
If they do fight, Kimmel said he would give all the money for tickets to charity. “My charity will be the women who came forward to say you molested them, okay? All right, tough guy, with your little pistol? Roy Moore is never — he’s too scared to even debate the guy he’s running against, Doug Jones. With me he wants to go man to man. Maybe if he went man to man instead of man to little girl, you wouldn’t be in this situation — allegedly, allegedly!”
Earlier this month, Moore appeared on conservative pundit Sean Hannity’s radio show where he addressed the allegations against him. There, he insisted he didn’t remember ” ever dating any girl without the permission of her mother” and that “it would have been out of my customary behavior” to date women that young when he was in his 30s.
“This never happened, they know it never happened, and obviously you don’t wait 40 years to bring up something like this,” he said.
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Moore has also given remarks blaming liberals and members of the LGBTQ community for America’s political woes.
“Who are they? The liberals. They don’t want conservative values,” Moore said, according to CNN. “They are the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender … who want to change our culture. They are socialists who want to change our way of life. Putting man above God. And the government is our god. They are the Washington establishment. They want to keep everything the same so they don’t lose their position, power and prestige.”
On Twitter Thursday, Moore continued his social media jabs, writing, “Despite D.C. and Hollywood Elites’ bigotry towards southerners, Jimmy, we’ll save you a seat on the front pew.”
“OK Roy,” Kimmel tweeted, “but I’m leaving my daughters at home! P.S. – wear that cute little leather vest.”