When the House Judiciary Committee held a hearing on gun violence Wednesday morning, Democratic Rep. Jerrold Nadler, the chair of the group, administered the oath to witnesses who were about the testify. When he did that, he left out the phrase “So help me God.” A Republican questioned him about that immediately afterward. Nadler chalked it up to a simple mistake, re-administered the oath with the phrase in it, and everyone moved on.
“Raise your right hands,” Nadler told the witnesses. “Do you swear or affirm under penalty of perjury that the testimony you’re about to give is true and correct to the best of your knowledge, information and belief?
“Mr. Chairman, Mr. Chairman,” interrupted Rep. Mike Johnson. “Point of parliamentary inquiry”… Johnson, sitting at the far end of the dais, said: “We had a conversation on the floor last week, and I just noted you left out ‘So help me God.’”
“Sorry,” Nadler said. “Do you want me to repeat the whole — I will repeat–”
“I would love that. Thank you,” Johnson said.
“Please stand up again,” Nadler told the witnesses, as he repeated the oath, ending with, “So help you God.”
It appeared to be a non-issue. Nadler didn’t seem to do it on purpose. I didn’t think that was worth writing up.
But then yesterday it happened again with a different Democrat, and this time, it was on purpose.
This incident involved Democratic Rep. Diana DeGette, who chairs the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight. Yesterday morning, when conducting a hearing on the Trump administration’s “Inhumane Family Separation Policy,” she left out the phrase\ when swearing in witnesses. And once again, a Republican was there to point it out.
When Rep. Jeff Duncan (R.-S.C.) reminded DeGette of the omission, she indicated that it was intentional:
“This is the — ah, this is the oath we use, and that’s the oath we’re going to use today,” said DeGette said, who then moved on with the hearing.
More power to DeGette. There’s absolutely no reason that phrase should be in the default oath, and no witnesses should have to make a pinky promise to God before telling the truth at a House committee hearing. If more chairs did what she did, it would eventually become a non-issue.
It’s such a Republican thing to see, too. They make a big deal over the “God” omission now, even though they said nothing for years while several GOP committee chairs abdicated their responsibilities. To Republicans like these, symbolic patriotism always counts more than the real thing.
(Thanks to Brian for the link)