AP Faces Mounting Backlash Over Allegations About GOP Candidate

Mainstream media attacks on conservative Republicans might be par for the course in the current political climate, but a growing number of critics say the Associated Press crossed the line in publishing a salacious article about U.S. Senate candidate Bernie Moreno.

The piece in question ties Moreno to an account created in 2008 on an dating site that sought a connection with other men. Although the report, which was still available online without a retraction as of this writing, claimed to have “geolocation data” tying Moreno to the Adult Friend Finder account, the AP has since acknowledged that the supposed evidence is nothing more than the ZIP code entered manually by the person who actually did create the profile.

Furthermore, former Moreno intern Dan Ricci has admitted creating the account, which was never used and deleted less than a day later.

“I am thoroughly embarrassed by an aborted prank I pulled on my friend, and former boss, Bernie Moreno, nearly two decades ago,” Ricci asserted.

For his part, Moreno has blamed the AP’s attack on him to the fact that he has secured an endorsement from presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.

“We’ve been at this for six weeks,” the candidate said. “So obviously, we now know what happened. It’s 16 years ago. Somebody pulled a prank. … Why is that a story? It’s a story because President Trump endorsed me.”

Moreno’s wife, Bridget, released a statement tying the attack to Republican challenger Matt Dolan.

Trump and other prominent Republicans have maintained their support for Moreno throughout the ordeal.

“They keep doing a number on him just like they’ve done in everybody else,” the former president said of Democratic operatives during a campaign rally on saturday. “That’s all they do. Disinformation and misinformation. They’re masters at it. They lie. They cheat.”

Sen. J.D. Vance (R-OH) was also at the rally and offered a similar endorsement.

“We determine who the senator from the state of Ohio will be, and we’re going to choose Bernie Moreno,” he said. “You’ve got to ask yourself: Why are they throwing everything at him in these final few days? Why are they throwing everything at Bernie Moreno? Because they know he answers to you and not to them. It’s that simple.”

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