A campaign spokesman for Alabama GOP Senate candidate Roy Moore appeared on CNN's "The Lead" in what became an awkward interview with Jake Tapper.
- A campaign spokesman for Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore appeared on CNN's "The Lead" for an interview with Jake Tapper on Tuesday.
- He seemed to suggest that members of Congress would have had to swear on the Holy Bible and appeared speechless when Tapper corrected him.
As the final hours of Alabama's special election came to a close, Ted Crockett, Republican candidate Roy Moore's campaign spokesman, appeared on CNN's "The Lead" for an interview with Jake Tapper on Tuesday.
Tapper questioned Crockett on several of Moore's controversial statements, including why he believed Muslims would be ineligible to serve in Congress — a topic on which Moore opined in 2006, after Democratic Rep. Keith Ellison of Minnesota became the first Muslim member of Congress and used Thomas Jefferson's Quran for his swearing-in ceremony.
"Because you have to swear on the the Bible," Crockett said. "I had to do it, I'm an elected official."
"You have to swear on a Bible to be an elected official in the [US]," Crockett continued. "He alleges that a Muslim cannot do that ethically, swearing on a Bible."
Tapper responded: "You don't actually have to swear on a Christian Bible. You can swear on anything, really. I don't know if you knew that. You can swear on a Jewish Bible."
"Oh no, I swore on the Bible, Crockett said. "I've done it three times, Jake."
Tapper replied: "I'm sure you have, I'm sure you've picked a Bible. But the law is not that you have to swear on a Christian Bible. That is not the law."
After Tapper's last comment, Crockett did not respond.
Tapper appeared to nudge the interview forward: "You don't know that?"
"I know that Donald Trump did it when we made him President," Crockett finally said.
Tapper replied: "Because he's Christian and he picked it. That's what he wanted to swear in on."
Several US presidents have been sworn in on other sacred texts for their respective ceremonies. For instance, President John Quincy Adams is assumed to have placed his hand on the Constitution.
"Some might care less about making the oath more effective, and more about using the oath to reinforce traditional American values, in which they include respect for the Bible ... over other holy books," UCLA Law professor Eugene Volokh wrote in an op-ed in 2006, amid the backlash from Ellison's decision.
"Yet this would literally violate the Constitution’s provision that 'no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States,'" Volokh continued. "For the devout, taking an oath upon a religious book is a religious act. Requiring the performance of a religious act using the holy book of a particular religion is a religious test. "