(photo credit: WIKIMEDIA)
WASHINGTON – A race for the Republican nomination for a US Senate seat in Alabama drove a wedge between the party’s Washington establishment and its populist strategists, ending on Tuesday night with a victory for the latter.
Roy Moore, a former Alabama Supreme Court justice, defeated Luther Strange by a comfortable margin. The election was a defeat for US President Donald Trump, who uncharacteristically joined party leadership in backing Strange’s candidacy.
After flying to Alabama on Friday to stump for his candidate and mounting his Twitter pulpit to get out the vote, Trump proceeded to delete several of his past tweets, as if to erase his record of support for Strange. He then quickly embraced Moore, who he said was a “really great guy” who ran on a platform loyal to Trump and his agenda of “making America great again.”
But Moore has grown into a controversial figure as he has entered the national stage. In 2015, he passionately opposed the US Supreme Court’s ruling that same-sex marriage would be legal nationwide, and claimed that forcing compliance with the order was similar to the Nazis forcing Germans to kill Jews during the Holocaust.
“Could I do this if I were in Nuremberg – say that I was following the orders of the highest authority to kill Jews? Could I say I was ordered to do so?” Moore said, asked whether he expected judges throughout the land to obey the law.
When a local journalist noted that the Nuremberg trials were not about gay marriage, but about killing people, Moore replied: “Is there a difference?” His wife, Kayla Moore, has made similar comparisons in recent years, including in a speech outside the Alabama State Capitol in the spring of 2016.
“There is a famous quote that I’ve read numerous times lately. When I read it you’ll know why. It’s at the US Holocaust Memorial museum,” she told a gathered crowd, calling for Christians to “stand up” against the gay-rights movement.
“It’s written by Pastor [Martin] Niemoller, about socialism and what happened to the Jews. But I’m gonna change it up just a little bit so that it’ll fit a little bit better into today and what we’re talking about,” she continued.
“First they came for the bakers. We sat back because we don’t bake cakes. Then they came for the florists. We sat back because we don’t arrange flowers. Then they came for the clerks and the judges, and we sat back because we don’t issue marriage licenses and we don’t judge. But then they came for me, and there was no one left to defend me.”
Kayla Moore was referring to cases in which conservatives Christians came under fire for refusing to work with same-sex weddings.