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Will Donald Trump swear on the Bible?

Most U.S. presidents have sworn on a Bible of their choosing when taking the oath of office. But it’s not required.


 
Curator Clark Evans displays the burgundy velvet, gilt-edged Lincoln Inaugural Bible at the Library of Congress Tuesday, Dec. 23, 2008, in Washington. President-elect Barack Obama will take his oath of office on the bible Jan. 20, becoming the first president to use it since Abraham Lincoln at his swearing-in on March 4, 1861. (Lauren Victoria Burke/AP/CP)

Curator Clark Evans displays the burgundy velvet, gilt-edged Lincoln Inaugural Bible at the Library of Congress Tuesday, Dec. 23, 2008, in Washington. President-elect Barack Obama will take his oath of office on the Bible Jan. 20, becoming the first president to use it since Abraham Lincoln at his swearing-in on March 4, 1861. (Lauren Victoria Burke/AP/CP)

As Donald Trump prepares to be inaugurated as the 45th president of the United States, Maclean’s is answering any and all questions you may have about the whys and wherefores of the pomp and circumstance. Read more answers from our FAQ series.

Do presidents have to swear in on a Bible? No—but the list of those who haven’t is pretty short.

Theodore Roosevelt didn’t have a Bible when he was sworn in as president in 1901, though his inauguration was less than celebratory; after all, President William McKinley was shot a week earlier and died of his wounds on Sept. 14. (Roosevelt was sworn in as the new president later that day in Buffalo, N.Y.)

John Adams, the 10th president of the United States, also didn’t swear on a Bible for his inauguration but rather he took the oath on a book of law. It is also worth noting that Adams also broke tradition by being the first president sworn in while wearing long trousers and not knee breeches.

And while Article VI of the U.S. Constitution says that “no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States,” the vast majority of presidents do indeed swear their oath on a Bible.

What kind of Bible? It’s the president’s choice. George W. Bush used the family Bible his dad once used to be sworn in as president before him. In 2009, Barack Obama took an oath on the same Bible Abraham Lincoln used for his swearing-in, from 1861. For his second go-around, Obama used both the Lincoln Bible and a Bible once used by Martin Luther King Jr.

So will Trump swear his oath on a Bible? Very likely. Though who’s to say he won’t show up and give the oath of office with his right hand on The Art of the Deal?


 

Will Donald Trump swear on the Bible?

  1. Yeah, the bible is Ye Book of Magick Spells.

  2. I remember when i was a young man and liked to have a few drinks, a few too many drinks, in fact. i recall going to visit a priest one day to take what is called ‘A Pledge’ to help me give up drinking, the next day, i got a call for a job to go to work at Carling O’Keefe Brewery for a summertime job, so much for the pledge. Personally, i think religion today, should be banished from society, but i am only one person, so Que Sara Sara.Trump only needs to swear on the office of the POTUS, to the Americans, that’s like swearing on the bible, because that’s what American society is built around, the bible.

    • Just to add, under oath, Trump will have to tell the truth, now that will be a challenge in a world of an illegitimate POTUS.

    • Maybe the Carling O’Keefe job was God’s way of reminding you that he gave mankind the recipe for beer. Although, if he really loved you, he would have had a better brewery offer you a job :-)

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