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

Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeCheney clashes with Trump Sessions-Tuberville Senate runoff heats up in Alabama GOP lawmakers stick to Trump amid new criticism 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 EllisonRepublican lawmakers say Minnesota mask order violates state law against hiding identity Vermont has a chance to show how bipartisanship can tackle systemic racism Is Ilhan Omar one and done? Why she could lose the August primary MORE (D-Minn.), the first Muslim in Congress, over his decision to take his oath of office on a Quran instead of a Bible.

ADVERTISEMENT

“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 SasseDemocrats seek to exploit Trump-GOP tensions in COVID-19 talks On The Trail: The first signs of a post-Trump GOP McConnell: 15-20 GOP senators will not vote for any coronavirus deal 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 CruzTrump-backed Hagerty wins Tennessee GOP Senate primary The Hill's Campaign Report: Trump's visit to battleground Ohio overshadowed by coronavirus The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the Air Line Pilots Association - Key 48 hours loom as negotiators push for relief deal MORE (R-Texas) praised Moore this week, calling him a "conservative who will proudly defend Alabama values" in a post on his website.