Flake says he won't back Roy Moore, citing Muslim remark

Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeMcConnell: 'Whoever gets to 60 wins' on immigration Huckabee Sanders: Dems need to decide if they 'hate' Trump 'more than they love this country' Trump spokeswoman fires back at Flake: 'His numbers are in the tank' MORE (R-Ariz.) told reporters Thursday that he will not support or endorse Republican Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore, citing his past comment that Muslims should not be allowed to serve in Congress.

“A guy who says that a Muslim member of Congress shouldn’t be able to serve, that’s not right," Flake reportedly said Thursday.

Moore, who is running in the special election to replace Attorney General Jeff Sessions, was twice removed from his position as chief justice of Alabama's Supreme Court, once for refusing to remove a monument of the Ten Commandments from courthouse grounds and once for telling lower judges to ignore the U.S. Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage.

In 2006, the former judge took issue with Rep. Keith EllisonKeith Maurice EllisonPaul Ryan deletes tweet touting .50 pay hike after backlash Social media users slam Ryan for tweet on .50 pay hike Dems want info on Labor Dept hiding unfavorable report on impacts of tip-pooling rule MORE (D-Minn.), the first Muslim in Congress, over his decision to take his oath of office on a Quran instead of a Bible.

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“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 wrote at the time. 

Moore has been a point of contention among Republicans since he became the party's Senate nominee after a hotly contested GOP primary, receiving a mix of endorsements and criticism from lawmakers in his party.

Sen. Ben SasseBenjamin (Ben) Eric SasseSasse statement: Trump nominee who spread conspiracy theories has a ‘tinfoil hat’ Senate Republicans call on Trump to preserve NAFTA Trump action on tariffs triggers GOP alarm MORE (R-Neb.) this week also slammed Moore for his previous comments on Muslims, noting the United States Constitution stipulates that there is no religious test required to run for congressional office.

“You can’t have people running for office — I don’t know the particulars of what Moore has said — but as it’s been reported, you cant have people running for office saying that being a Muslim would be a disqualification for being in Congress. The constitution is pretty dang clear about not having a religious litmus test," Sasse told conservative writer Jonah Goldberg in an interview on the podcast "The Remnant."

Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzSasse statement: Trump nominee who spread conspiracy theories has a ‘tinfoil hat’ Coalition of 44 groups calls for passage of drug pricing bill For the sake of our democracy, politicians must stop bickering MORE (R-Texas) praised Moore this week, calling him a "conservative who will proudly defend Alabama values" in a post on his website.