Martha McSally may have lost the Arizona senatorial election to Kyrsten Sinema, but both women were taking the oath of office on Thursday.
That’s because McSally replaced Jon Kyl, the appointed substitute for John McCain. And, even though she may have lost the race, she definitely won the most impressive piece of history on which to take the oath of office.
According to the Arizona Republic, McSally took the oath on a Bible recovered from the USS Arizona, one of the ships sunk during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941.
The battleship is arguably the best known of the vessels sunk on the day that lived in infamy, having become the location of the USS Arizona Memorial.
“this Bible was recovered from the U.S.S. Arizona”
— Howard Mortman (@HowardMortman) January 3, 2019
McSally told Vice President Mike Pence of the provenance of the Bible just before she was sworn in.
“How special is that?” Pence said.
“The Bible was loaned to Senator McSally for the occasion by the Special Collections department of the University of Arizona library. It was recovered from the body of an unidentified sailor after the Dec. 7, 1941 Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor,” a statement from her office later said.
While McSally, a former Air Force officer, had lost one of the closest races in this November’s election in the battle for retiring Republican Sen. Jeff Flake’s seat, she was given a second opportunity when Sen. Kyl announced he would be vacating John McCain’s seat.
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, a Republican, announced he was appointing McSally to the seat in the middle of last month.
“She served 26 years in the military; deployed six times to the Middle East and Afghanistan; was the first woman to fly in combat and command a fighter squadron in combat; and she’s represented Southern Arizona in Congress for the past four years,” Ducey said, according to CBS News.
“With her experience and long record of service, Martha is uniquely qualified to step up and fight for Arizona’s interests in the U.S. Senate.”
The seat will be up for a special election in 2020 with a 2022 regular election. McSally has yet to say she would run for the seat.
As for working with the woman who beat her in November’s election, McSally didn’t believe she would have trouble doing so.
“I also look forward to working with Kyrsten Sinema in the Senate, just like we did in the House,” McSally said.
Both women served as representatives before they ran for Flake’s seat.
Although it now joins only a small number of states with two female senators, Arizona had never previously sent a woman to the upper chamber.
Sinema had made news on Thursday by becoming the first openly bisexual senator in U.S. history. She made news again by taking the oath of office on a copy of the Constitution as opposed to a Bible or other holy book.
The move added further speculation to the rumors that Sinema is an atheist or agnostic; she’s already the only religiously unaffiliated member of either the Senate or House, although 18 others didn’t know or refused to answer, according to Pew Research.
— Hemant Mehta (@hemantmehta) January 3, 2019
“Kyrsten always gets sworn in on a Constitution simply because of her love for the Constitution,” Sinema spokesman John LaBombard said, while refusing to comment on her religious affiliation.
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