ThinkProgress filed this report from Saint Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire.
During last night’s GOP presidential debate, former Godfather’s Pizza CEO Herman Cain was asked about an interview with ThinkProgress earlier this year where the Georgia Republican said he would not be comfortable appointing Muslims in his administration. Cain has since modified his stance slightly, shifting from an outright ban on Muslims to simply requiring they take a special loyalty oath — a standard he explicitly said would not apply to people of other faiths.
Cain defended his call for higher loyalty standards from Muslims during the debate, saying:
When you interview a person for a job, you look at their work record, you look at their resume, and then you have a one-on-one personal interview. During that personal interview, like in the business world and anywhere else, you are able to get a feeling for how committed that person is to the Constitution.
ThinkProgress spoke with Cain after the debate to ask about how his proposed job interview standard would jibe with the Constitution’s prohibition on religious tests as a qualification for office. Cain immediately backtracked on whether he was advocating asking job applicants about their religion. The Georgia Republican then accused ThinkProgress of deception — “Don’t try to trick me again like you tried to trick me once before” — after his Islamophobic remarks to us in March grew to define his candidacy:
KEYES: Mr. Cain, you were asked about Muslims in your administration. Is it constitutional to ask job applicants their religion?
CAIN: I never said I was going to ask job applicants their religion. Don’t try to trick me again like you tried to trick me once before.
It’s unclear how Cain plans to administer a special loyalty oath aimed just at Muslims if he (rightly) does not plan to ask applicants about their religion. Indeed, this is just one of many questions that remain regarding Cain’s heavy reluctance to include Muslims in his administration. Those questions include:
- When Cain brought up the notion of asking certain job interview questions during the debate, what questions did he specifically have in mind? And why, as debate moderator John King asked, would those questions only apply to Muslims and not people from other faiths?
- Can Americans reasonably expect that Cain will appoint people in his administration that he’s not “comfortable” with, as he has repeated numerous times about Muslims?
- How does Cain, a Tea Party favorite, reconcile his support for special loyalty oaths with his love of the Constitution, which includes a ban on religious tests in Article VI?