CNN host Jake Tapper has demonstrated a reliable willingness to ask hard questions, regardless of his guests' political background. But when speaking with Roy Moore spokesman Ted Crockett on Tuesday, Tapper didn't so much press a question as he did relate a civic fact dating back to the country's founding. Upon explaining one need not be sworn into office by taking an oath on the Bible, Tapper left Crockett speechless. Twitter, however, had plenty to say about the exchange.
Crockett had been attempting to defend Moore's past assertion that Muslims should not be allowed to hold congressional office. His rationale for Moore's apparent bigotry was that the Alabama candidate for the U.S. Senate did not want to offend the conscience of Muslims by making them take an oath on a Christian Bible. Tapper jumped in with a fun fact from the 1770s — there is no constitutional requirement that any elected official use the Bible during a swearing-in ceremony.
Crockett exhibited abject stupefaction upon learning this news. The Moore spokesman had no response for several seconds, prompting Tapper to ask, "You don't know that?" After Crockett still seemed unable to reply, Tapper moved to wrap up the segment.
Twitter users picked up the exchange and ran with it.
Moore has also said Islam is "directly contrary to the principles of the Constitution." But Muslims are not the only ones who the former judge has offended.
As most pundits were quick to point out, voter turnout in predominantly black areas of Alabama soared on Tuesday. The numbers were virtually unheard of for a special election, giving Democrats reason to believe that the supposed depression of leftward voter enthusiasm is a myth.
Quentin Bell, a black LGBTQ activist in Selma who ran buses to take voters to the polls Tuesday, told Andrew Desiderio of The Daily Beast, “It’s not necessarily that black voters like myself are showing up particularly for Doug Jones. A lot of us are showing up to be anti-Roy Moore." Black voters looking for reasons to oppose Moore would have no trouble finding them.
At a September rally, Moore said he thought antebellum America was a "great time when families were united" — despite the existence of slavery. He's also mused that many problems could be solved by getting rid of all constitutional amendments save the first ten. That would include the 15th Amendment giving black Americans the right to vote.
Republican Moore lost the Senate race in Alabama to Democratic opponent Doug Jones on Tuesday. One of the deepest-red states in the nation, Alabama has not elected a Democrat to the Senate since 1992. So the outcome of this election is a testament to the fact that there are certain boundaries that politicians best not cross, even in a partisan stronghold like Alabama.
Along those lines, some credit for Moore's loss is likely due to the eight women who came forward with their stories about Moore's alleged sexual misconduct towards them. Most of Moore's accusers were teenagers when they allege he behaved inappropriately. Leigh Corfman was just 14-years-old when she claims Moore initiated sexual conduct with her. Six of the eight accusers were younger than 18 at the time of the alleged incidents. Moore vehemently denies all the allegations against him.
Representing a man like Moore — someone who doesn't shy away from controversy or speaking his mind — is no doubt a difficult job. But for Crockett, it probably would have helped to do a quick constitutional refresher before going toe-to-toe with Jake Tapper over whether Muslims should be allowed to join the United States Congress.