We take our moments of joy where we can get them these days, whether it’s an occasional bout of presidential mush-mouth, or an Alabama Republican going slack-jawed with horror at a concept that’s so clearly, painfully outside his worldview that it appears to be breaking his brain. That’s what viewers of CNN’s The Lead got a taste of today, as host Jake Tapper educated a spokesperson for Roy Moore—the accused sexual harasser who’s been publicly supported at every turn in his bid for the Senate today by that other accused sexual harasser—about some basic tenets of American civics.
Tapper was questioning Moore spokesman Ted Crockett about the would-be senator’s bigoted belief that Muslims shouldn’t be allowed to serve in Congress, which was met with a loud answer that “You have to swear on a Bible to be an elected official in the United States.” As a slightly baffled Tapper quickly corrected him, though, that’s not actually true; John Quincy Adams, for instance, was sworn in as president on a book of laws, and members of Congress have been sworn in on the Koran, Jewish texts, and the Constitution. (At least one of which was done with a Kindle, rather than a physical book.) As Tapper noted,the oath is the point, not the book it’s made upon.
This straight-faced assertion, though, produced a truly beautiful moment of TV, as Crockett attempted to find a place to file this new factoid inside his brain, and ultimately failed. His brief, non-sequitur assertion that Donald Trump was sworn in on a Christian Bible was quickly swatted down by Tapper, leading Crockett to simply sit there, flummoxed by the staggering modern concept known as the separation of church and state.