Michele Bachmann, purveyor of lies, gaffes, and a rewriting of American history, moments ago during a GOP family values presidential debate claimed that all presidents since George Washington have added “so help me God” (shmG) to the end of their presidential oath of office. Not true. A lie, like so many other comments Michele Bachmann has stated time and time again.
“Claims that every president has appended ‘so help me God’ to his presidential oath office can be found in various publications and on the Internet,” writes Mathew Goldstein.
“Prior to 1854 there appears to be no record of any assertions that any president appended the phrase “so help me God” to their inaugural oath of office. None, zip, nil, zero. You heard me right, the evidence that this occurred is an empty void, it doesn’t exist.”
“There is one contemporaneous, first hand, eyewitness account of George Washington’s first inauguration that quotes the entire oath recitation and describes what happened immediately thereafter. It is the letter of the French consul, Comte de Moustier, April 30, 1789, written in french to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of France. No shmG. So the overall weight of the overall available evidence favors the conclusion that George Washington did not say shmG. Washington Irving’s more than six decades after the fact, and non-sourced, assertion otherwise in his book is counter-evidenced by this letter.
“Other books and articles subsequent to 1854 continue to not depict George Washington appending so help me God. Examples include Abridgment of the Debates of Congress from 1789 to 1856, Volume I, by Thomas Hart Benton, and Joseph Gales and William Winston Seaton and John C Rives. Memoir of the life of Eliza S. M. Quincy, ed. E S Quincy 1861. Reminiscences of an Old New Yorker, by William A. Duer, 1867.”
So, there you have it. go read Goldstein’s piece if you want more details and proof. Proof that Bachmann, once again, is either a liar, or a really bad researcher, or both.
(Oh, for the record, Barack Obama did say, “So help me God.”)
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