President-elect Donald Trump will be sworn in on Inauguration Day with his hand on both the Lincoln bible as well as his family bible.
Alex Stroman confirmed Trump’s pick on Tuesday morning. Trump’s family bible was gifted to him in 1955 when he finished Sunday Church Primary School in New York. The Lincoln Bible is the famous bible used to swear in President Lincoln. It has since been used in numerous other events including President Obama’s first and second inauguration ceremonies.
Trump presented his family bible in early 2016 when he was thanking evangelicals for their support. “My mother gave me this bible. This very Bible many years ago,” Trump said in a 2016 campaign video. “In fact, it’s her writing, right here. She wrote the name and my address, and it’s just very special to me.”
Trump considers himself a Presbyterian and has often said the bible is one of his favorite books. Many people have questioned his seriousness especially after he said ‘two Corinthians’ rather than the normal ‘second Corinthians while speaking at Liberty University. Ironically, this isn’t abnormal for other countries. Perhaps Trump’s mother pronounced it that way as well.
According to the U.S. Constitution, the only requirement for being sworn in is to swear or affirm the presidential oath of office. Using the bible or similar book is not required, but is a long standing tradition and special to the many presidents who believe in God.
While many presidents have used the bible, others decided to use something a little different. USA Today reports the following:
“The sixth president, John Quincy Adams, a lawyer, took the oath on a law book. Teddy Roosevelt didn’t use a book following William McKinley’s assassination, and Lyndon B. Johnson was sworn in on a Roman Catholic missal found aboard Air Force One in the aftermath of John F. Kennedy’s assassination.”
When presidents have decided to swear in on the bible, some will turn to a specific verse. Ronald Reagan decided on 2 Corinthians 7:14 which says:
“if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”
When Trump takes his oath of office his two bibles will be stacked on top of each other. As of now, it is unknown if either will be open to a specific verse. With as significant as this election was, it is possible that Trump’s bible will be added to the very few inauguration bibles. Mark Dimunation, chief of the Library of Congress’ rare book and special collections division made a statement about these important books:
“It’s a moment of such national significance that it imbues this otherwise modest — can be a modest book — with a level of importance that makes it forever a significant piece. They actually do have a certain kind of electricity, a certain kind of meaning when you can hand somebody a Bible and say this is the Bible that Lincoln was sworn in on.”