Two Republican senators on Wednesday stumbled over questions about the far-right Republican nominee to fill the vacant Senate seat of Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
Former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore has advertised his opposition to homosexuality and suspicion of Sharia Law as part of his Senate campaign. He was suspended twice from the Alabama Supreme Court — once in 2003 for refusing to remove a statue of the Ten Commandments he installed from the Alabama Judicial Building, and again in 2016 over his instruction to probate judges to ignore the U.S. Supreme Court’s legalization of gay marriage.
On Wednesday morning, CNN’s Alisyn Camerota asked Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) about Moore, playing a clip of the Alabama candidate saying in December that he didn’t believe former President Barack Obama was born in the United States, and another in which he said the teachings of Islam were “completely opposite what our First Amendment stands for.”
Johnson and Camerota agreed the clips were difficult to hear, but the senator said the public’s perception of Moore had been unfairly colored by the media.
“No two people agree 100 percent of the time, not by a long shot,” Johnson said. “Again, we’ve got a pretty broad spectrum of political opinion and ideology serving in our Republican conference, certainly serving in Congress.”
He added: “I have found, coming here to Washington, D.C., there’s an awful lot of stereotypes of individuals. How the press portrays them is not necessarily the individual that they are. I’ve never met Judge Moore. I’m looking forward to meeting him and hoping we can work together to really address these serious challenges facing America.”
Sen. John Hoeven (R-ND) faced similar questions on MSNBC later Wednesday morning.
NBC’s Hallie Jackson asked about Moore’s assertions “that homosexual conduct should be illegal, that 9/11 was God punishing U.S. perverseness,” and Moore’s belief that Obama was not born in the United States.
“If Roy Moore ends up winning in December, will you welcome him to the Senate?” she asked.
“I haven’t had a chance to look through all of those things,” Hoeven said, though Moore’s rhetoric and beliefs have been well-known for years. “The key is going to be what he does when he comes here, and is he going to join with us to get the things done that are going to help our country and the American people. That’s going to be the important thing.
“Let’s give him a chance to come down and help us advance the agenda that will be good for our country,” Hoeven added.