For the last few weeks, we’ve been chronicling efforts by right-wing activists in Texas to replace Republican House Speaker Joe Straus, who is Jewish, with a true “Christian conservative.” And last week we noted that while David Barton was saying that the efforts to replace Strauss had nothing to do with his faith, State Republican Executive Committee member John Cook was sending out emails saying “We elected a house with Christian, conservative values [and] we now want a true Christian, conservative running it.”
Now, via The Washington Monthly, we see that the Texas Observer’s Abby Rapoport has gotten Cook to speak on the record about his campaign, allowing him to explain that conservative Christians “do the best jobs over all” and that he could not possibly be bigoted against Straus because “Jesus Christ is a Jew, and he’s my favorite person that’s ever been on this earth”:
And Cook, who stands by his email, doesn’t mince words: he maintains that his demands are in no way bigoted. Here’s a summary of our conversation, and I’ll leave it to readers to judge.
“When I got involved in politics, I told people I wanted to put Christian conservatives in leadership positions,” he told me, explaining that he only supports Christian conservative candidates in Republican primary races.
“I want to make sure that a person I’m supporting is going to have my values. It’s not anything about Jews and whether I think their religion is right or Muslims and whether I think their religion is right. … I got into politics to put Christian conservatives into office. They’re the people that do the best jobs over all.”
Cook said his opposition was not about Straus’ religion, although he prefers Christian candidates.
“They’re some of my best friends,” he said of Jews, naming two friends of his. “I’m not bigoted at all; I’m not racist” … Cook was absolute that his position was not bigoted.
“My favorite person that’s ever been on this earth is a Jew,” he said. “How can they possibly think that if Jesus Christ is a Jew, and he’s my favorite person that’s ever been on this earth?”