During a trip to the U.S. Capitol on Tuesday, Republican U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore was asked if he still believes that Muslims shouldn’t be allowed to serve in Congress, or if he continues to think homosexuality should be illegal. He didn’t take the chance to walk back his extremist positions.
As Moore walked around the Capitol, a reporter asked him, “Do you still believe that Keith Ellison shouldn’t serve in the [House] because he’s a Muslim.”
Moore didn’t directly respond. Instead, he said, “I’ll address that later, I didn’t say he couldn’t, I said — go read my World Net Daily article that says ‘should’ not ‘could.'”
The reporter attempted to get Moore to clarify, asking him if he believes Ellison — America’s first Muslim member of Congress — “should not serve in the U.S. House because he’s a Muslim.”
Moore dodged, saying, “Read the article and you’ll find out what I believe.”
The reporter tried again on another topic, asking Moore if he “still believe[s] homosexual acts should be illegal.” Moore replied by saying, “I’m not commenting on any issues right now,” prompting the reporter to say, incredulously, “this is the U.S. Senate, people comment on issues here, it’s pretty much what we do.”
The World Net Daily article Moore wrote and encouraged the reporter to read is headlined, “Muslim Ellison Should Not Sit In Congress.” Written in December 2006 — the month after Ellison was elected — Moore argued that Muslims can’t authentically “swear allegiance to our Constitution” because “Islamic law is simply incompatible with our law.”
The irony is that Moore has twice been forced off the Alabama Supreme Court for defying the Constitution — the first time for refusing a federal court’s order to remove a monument of the Ten Commandments from the Alabama Judicial Building, and then last year for continuing to enforce the state’s unconstitutional ban on same-sex marriage.
Moore’s 2006 World Net Daily piece concludes by comparing Muslims with Nazis.
“In 1943, we would never have allowed a member of Congress to take their oath on ‘Mein Kampf,’ or someone in the 1950s to swear allegiance to the ‘Communist Manifesto,'” he writes. “Congress has the authority and should act to prohibit Ellison from taking the congressional oath today!”
Moore has also argued that 9/11 was punishment for the U.S. turning away from God, and pushed the racist conspiracy theory that President Obama is a Muslim. But if you think he might be too extreme for prominent Republicans, think again — President Trump, Vice President Pence, Senate Majority Leader McConnell, and the Republican National Committee have all thrown their support behind him.
Republicans have had a hard time explaining why they support Moore, despite his history of extreme views and deeds. During a news conference earlier this month, Trump was asked, “Roy Moore down in Alabama has said that homosexuality should be illegal and that Muslims should be barred from serving in the U.S. Congress. What makes you comfortable with those beliefs serving in the U.S. Senate?”
Trump completely ignored the question, and said he would be meeting with Moore soon.
“Well I’m going to be meeting with Roy sometime next week, and we’re going to talk to him about a lot of different things,” Trump said. “He ran a very strong race, the people of Alabama who I like very much and they like me very much, but they like Roy, and we’ll be talking to him and I can report to you then.”
Other Republicans, like Sen. Todd Young (R-IN) have tried to thread the needle by disavowing positions Moore has taken without denouncing him personally.
.@SenToddYoung says he agrees with McConnell, “we do not have religious tests for office in the United States of America. Period.”
— Seung Min Kim (@seungminkim) October 30, 2017
But as Ellison points out, threading that needle means Republicans have to willfully ignore bigoted positions Moore has repeatedly expressed over the years.
Do these folks know they’ve stood by a Senate candidate who thinks I shouldn’t be able to serve in Congress, simply because of my faith? https://t.co/1Q7lNRqLfW
— Rep. Keith Ellison (@keithellison) October 30, 2017
In other instances, Republicans have seemingly convinced themselves that Moore is someone else entirely. In a statement endorsing Moore, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) applauded him for “his stalwart defense of the Constitution.”