Alice Ollstein contributed reporting.
Alabama Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore on Tuesday said he doesn’t “hate people” and doesn’t think there should be a religious test for candidates for office.
Walking through the U.S. Capitol to a lunch with Republican senators, Moore pushed back on questions from a Washington Post reporter and noted that the outlet endorsed his Democratic opponent, Doug Jones.
“Y’all endorsed my opponent already, so, you know, that’s a hard position to be in,” Moore said. “But all these newspaper reporters, I wish y’all would print me as I am, and not as other people say I am. That’s the only thing.”
“Okay. How are you? Who are you?” a reporter asked.
“Well, I’m a lot different than how the Washington Post is portraying me, that’s for sure,” Moore said. “I don’t hate people. I’m a Christian. I don’t hate people.”
Despite his claims, Moore has a long record of statements that suggest that, even if he doesn’t “hate people,” he certainly lacks tolerance for people whose identities and beliefs fall out of the parameters he deems acceptable.
Moore in 2005 said homosexual activity should be illegal and compared it to bestiality. In November 2016, he said a Supreme Court ruling that required states to license and recognize same-sex marriage was “even worse in a sense” than the notorious 1857 Dred Scott ruling that upheld slavery.
Earlier in October, Moore incorrectly claimed that it is “against the law” for football players to kneel during the national anthem to protest against racism and police brutality.
Moore said on Monday night that the federal judge who blocked President Donald Trump’s policy that would have excluded transgender people from military service “should be impeached.”
He incorrectly claimed the American Psychiatric Association considered “transgenderism to be a mental disorder” until 2013, though the association’s board of trustees significantly recategorized related subjects in late 2012.
In 2006, Moore said that Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), the first Muslim elected to Congress, should not be sworn in because Moore claimed the Quran was incompatible with the Constitution.
“Perhaps Ellison is confused about what he believes, or else he has another agenda,” Moore wrote. “Congress has the authority and should act to prohibit Ellison from taking the congressional oath today!”
On Tuesday, Moore said, “There should be no religious test.”
Asked to comment on the recent indictment of top members of President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign, he declined to answer by disappearing into an elevator.
Despite Moore’s controversial remarks and positions, Republican senators nevertheless appear to be embracing him as a prospective member of their caucus.
Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) suggested the Republican caucus is supporting Moore in order to keep control of the Senate seat Moore is running to fill in Alabama.
“He is the Republican nominee,” Shelby said. “I think most people would want him to win.”
This post has been updated.